The Prepper Journal http://www.theprepperjournal.com Prepping, Survival and Common Sense Wed, 28 Jan 2015 11:19:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 Cookstoves and the Prepared Lifestylehttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/27/cookstoves-prepared-lifestyle/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/27/cookstoves-prepared-lifestyle/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 11:03:47 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=12995 Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editors Note: This article has been generously contributed by Chris from Cookstoves.net. Imagine this scenario: It’s the dead of winter. The ground is covered in snow, the temperature is below freezing during the daylight and worse after the sun goes down. Your power goes out. You’ve got water and a decent amount of food in […]

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editors Note: This article has been generously contributed by Chris from Cookstoves.net.

Imagine this scenario: It’s the dead of winter. The ground is covered in snow, the temperature is below freezing during the daylight and worse after the sun goes down. Your power goes out. You’ve got water and a decent amount of food in storage, but your heat source went with the power and the temperature inside your dwelling is rapidly dropping. What can you do?

The best option, one that people have come back to time and again throughout history, is to fire up the stove. If you have a woodstove or wood cookstove, chances are you’ve never worried about this situation. If you lose power and have to rely on yourself for heat, all you need to do is grab a couple blocks of firewood, throw them in the stove, start a fire, and in no time at all your living space will be just as warm as with any other heat source. The difference, however, is that wood heat from cutting the tree to splitting and loading the wood is entirely your responsibility.

Holzhaufen Firewood Stack - Cookstove CommunityIf you’ve got the time and energy, cutting your own firewood for the winter is one of the most rewarding aspects of living in a cold climate, both mentally and economically. There’s something to be said for the satisfaction of surviving the winter on your own terms: Gas, propane, electric they all require middle-men in some way or another. With wood heat, you have the option of gathering your own fuel and maintaining sole responsibility for how it’s burned and why, all at a cost that is far lower than that incurred by other heating methods.

But we’re not talking about just ordinary woodstoves, we’re talking about cookstoves. What’s the difference? Let’s go back to that scenario:

Your only source of heat is a stove, but what about preparing food? Sure, you can get by on the standards like canned goods, freeze-dried foods, MREs, etc. But when you’re looking at an extended period of time without access to proper power, you’ll want variety in order to avoid the very real issue of appetite fatigue. Survival isn’t just about getting the proper amount of nutrients into your body, it’s also about maintaining your sanity, and being able to cook food that actually tastes good will go a long way towards helping you hunker down for the long haul.

That’s where cookstoves come in.

Stainless Steel Glass Doors by Obadiah's - Cookstove Community

The Kitchen Queen 380 wood cookstove.

A cookstove has two main features: A firebox and an oven. The firebox works essentially like a standard woodstove and, depending on the stove, will heat just as effectively. However, that heat and the smoke from the fire is also routed through an adjacent oven (in ways that vary between stove manufacturers), allowing you to bring the oven to a temperature that will effectively cook anything you want.

Vermonth Bun Baker - Cookstove Community

Baking a pie with the Vermont Bun Baker.

Most cookstoves even offer independent controls for each side, as well as a universal damper system for total control over how much heat- if any- you wish to allow into the stove. If you can cook it on a normal household stove, you can cook it on a cookstove via wood heat.

The advantages of a cookstove aren’t limited to personal warmth and cooking, though: Many cookstoves also offer options for domestic hot water. With steel coils installed in the firebox and connected to a water reservoir located on the stove (or remote tank, in some cases), a cookstove will also create hot water when in use. This technology operates on the basic principle that hot water rises and cold water falls, using absolutely no additional electronics, pumps, or pressure tanks. You heat up the stove, the stove heats up the water. It’s that simple.

Cookstoves are not a new invention by any means, and chances are if you’ve heard of them or seen one before, it was collecting dust or in a state of disrepair in the household of a family member from a previous generation. Wood cookstoves have a long history in America, but fell by the wayside as social and economic forces led coal to replace wood as the main source of energy in the early 1900s. Wood still has its drawbacks as an energy source, particularly if you’re not living near a forest, but for many the benefits far outweigh any issues and always have.

Esse Ironheart Cookstove - Cookstove Community

The Esse Ironheart Cookstove.

 

Wood is reliable, and that reliability has kept cookstoves on the market and improving over the years. Today’s cookstoves aren’t your grandma’s cookstove left over from the Great Depression: They are simple but robust pieces of technology built on generations of experience, and with proper maintenance, will keep burning and cooking for decades.

That reliability and self-containment is invaluable to anyone living the prepared life. You can take all manner of precautions against society and what will happen when the grid goes down, but you can’t survive mother nature without a consistent source of heat and food. If you’re a prepper living in the north, or anywhere with temperatures that regularly dip below freezing in the winter months, you need to prepare not only for a large-scale disaster, but for a seasonal one as well. Every year winter storms regularly knock out power for tens of thousands of citizens across the country, often for weeks at a time. Being snowed in without power or a way to restock supplies is still a part of life for many Americans in the winter, and if you’re relying on a third-party to provide your heat in such a situation, you run the very real risk of freezing to death. Keeping a cookstove around will not only alleviate that risk, but allow you to do so relatively comfortably.

As mentioned earlier, a cookstove will open up a variety of options in the event of the grid going down, but that’s not limited to how you prepare your already stored food. And it’s just as well, because no matter how you ration it that food will eventually run out. If you’re to survive through self-reliance and meet all the dietary needs of the human body, you’ll need to raise or hunt your own meat, and that meat will need to be cooked. The benefit of a cookstove here is that you won’t be using multiple devices to accomplish this- your heat source will also provide you with an efficient way of preparing your meat.

A cookstove will go a long way in itself to sustain a person, but if you can also cut your own firewood and kill or grow your own food, a cookstove will provide almost everything else you need. Regardless of whether you’re a prepper or just interested in living a bit more self-sufficiently, a cookstove offers enrichment and security for your life. And on those long, cold winter days in the more out-of-the-way parts of the land, you can’t ask for more.

About the Author: Chris is an administrator for the Cookstove Community website. He resides in northwest Montana, and spends his free time hiking and photographing the land around him.

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5 Things You Need to Go Off Grid Now – Pt. 5http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/26/5-things-need-go-off-grid-now-pt-5/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/26/5-things-need-go-off-grid-now-pt-5/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 17:26:56 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=12985 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Welcome back to the last installment of our series on the 5 things you need to go off grid where we are discussing preparations you can make right now that could possibly save your life if you find yourself without the conveniences of the grid. As I stated in other articles, we frequently hear people […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Welcome back to the last installment of our series on the 5 things you need to go off grid where we are discussing preparations you can make right now that could possibly save your life if you find yourself without the conveniences of the grid. As I stated in other articles, we frequently hear people planning of a simpler, more self-reliant life where they can live untied from the complex systems of our current 21st century lifestyles. For obvious reasons, this dream is one that many of us strive for, but frequently are unable to obtain.

In a disaster though, that dream of being untied and self-sufficient may not be something we opt for by making various lifestyle and geographic changes; it may come to us without much advance warning whether we are ready or not. The news of the impending blizzard in New York is a perfect example of the possibility of disaster. In extreme cases, the conveniences of the grid might be unavailable to people for an extended time. If a disaster strikes, what would you need to have prepared ahead of time to make it through your own off grid scenario?

To briefly catch everyone up; our first article talked about the importance of water and having a renewable source if we have any hope of lasting a long time without the benefits of modern utilities. The second article dealt with food and creating systems now that would feed you if the grocery stores never opened again. The third article focused on sanitation and hygiene so that as much as possible we reduced our exposure, and conversely our risk of infection from disease. The fourth article discussed topics of shelter. The last item we will discuss is the need to have an alternate source of power.

Electricity

It is hard to imagine our days without the benefits of electricity. We have become so reliant on this source of energy that most of our modern lifestyles are dependent upon having a reliable source every single place we go. Without electricity, the obvious things like light bulbs and microwaves no longer work, but I wouldn’t have a job without electricity. In the past when I worked in various other careers, if there was a disruption in power, there was always something to do. Usually this involved cleaning in some capacity or reorganizing supplies.

Now, in my current profession if the power went out I wouldn’t be able to do any of my job responsibilities. I rely on power which enables the internet for every aspect of my job, from computer to phone. Meetings are held over the internet as well as presentations and conference calls with our VOIP phones. Our service is a web based application and without internet, nobody can access your service. Zip. Zilch, Nada. It is that way for many millions of other people, but outside of work, almost every other system relies on power too. ATM machines, wireless internet routers, gas pumps, cash registers, credit card transactions and on and on. We can’t really conduct many of the main transactions of commerce without power, but we also rely on power in our homes for simple survival.

Having a backup source of power is important if some event or circumstances take down the power grid. In the example of the anticipated blizzard in New England, power could be lost for millions making an already undesirable situation worse. To prepare for power outages or blackouts I think there are several layers of backup power and associated items you can consider. They might be too late for the people in New York, but you can make plans now to prevent a disruption in your future.

When the elecricity goes out, so do the lights. Make sure you have backup lighting options.

When the elecricity goes out, so do the lights. Make sure you have backup lighting options.

Short Term Power Outage Supplies (up to 8 hours)

For this relatively short duration you shouldn’t have to worry about more than simple navigation (light source) and minor power needs. Batteries should all be topped off in anticipation of outage if possible.

Small generators will greatly improve short-term outage conditions.

Medium Term Power Outage Supplies (1-3 days)

Alternate sources of power will most likely be needed for essentials. You can plug an inverter into your car’s auxiliary outlet and power a decent amount of items. Plan for storing fuel.

  • 1000 Watt Inverter connected to car battery for charging devices/running small appliances
  • Spare fuel to run vehicle (min 25 gallons)
  • 5 – 5 Gallon gas cans
  • PRI – G gas treatment for long-term fuel storage.
  • 2000 W Generator
  • Headlamps for each individual – infinitely easier and more practical than flashlights. Allows for hands free tasks.
  • Propane lanterns – great outdoor lighting option or use within well-ventilated area. They also put off a decent amount of heat.
  • Battery Recharger – It is important to get one that can charge multiple battery sizes if you have different battery uses.

Long Term Disruption in Power Supplies (4 or more days)

Larger generators and solar are good options to consider for longer outages.

So there you have it. 5 areas to consider now if you want to be prepared for an unexpected Off grid moment in your life. Are there other areas to consider? Of course, but I think this covers some of the most major bases we have. If you have a plan for Water, food to feed your family, Shelter from the elements, Sanitation to keep diseases at bay and Electricity, I think you have a good handle on the crises and should be able to weather the disruption. There are security aspects too, but those are dealt with in other posts on the Prepper Journal that can be read here, if you are interested.

I hope this series was informative or helpful in some way. As always, I love to hear comments so please let me know what you think and stay safe!

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5 Things You Need to Go Off Grid Now – Pt. 4http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/24/5-things-need-go-off-grid-now-pt-4/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/24/5-things-need-go-off-grid-now-pt-4/#comments Sat, 24 Jan 2015 11:00:50 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=12966 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Welcome back to this series on the 5 things you need to go off grid now, where I have been discussing the scenario of a collapse or long-term disruption of “the grid”. The term ‘the grid’, can mean different things to different people, but for the sake of this series, the grid I am referring […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Welcome back to this series on the 5 things you need to go off grid now, where I have been discussing the scenario of a collapse or long-term disruption of “the grid”. The term ‘the grid’, can mean different things to different people, but for the sake of this series, the grid I am referring to would be many of the systems and services we have come to rely on in our western culture. This would include things like electricity, water, sanitation, natural gas, emergency services, the internet and communications.

Some people think of the grid as the information collected about our lives through various electronic transactions. “Jason Bourne has gone off the grid”, meaning his whereabouts are not known because he isn’t using credit cards to pay for anything and they can’t track his cell phone. When Jason is spending that cash he had so brilliantly hidden in the safe deposit box, the CIA spooks can’t find him using their usual systems of detection. That is certainly one aspect of the grid, but when we talk of a lifestyle of living off the grid, we don’t normally associate that with running from a rogue department in a shadowy government agency that is hell-bent on killing us.

Going off the grid has become synonymous with living more simply and in many ways reducing or eliminating our dependence on systems like electricity. In an effort to go off the grid we may purchase solar panels as an example, or drill a well in our yard to provide fresh water instead of relying on city or municipal sources. It is an achievable goal for many, but not all of us. This series is focusing on that goal from a different angle and that is if you find yourself forced to go off the grid due to a natural disaster or some catastrophic event that renders these systems temporarily or permanently out of commission. You don’t leave the grid, the grid leaves you.

Gimme Shelter

In our first article in the series we discussed the importance of water and having a renewable source if we have any hope of lasting a long time without the benefits of modern utilities. The second article dealt with food and creating systems now that would feed you if the grocery stores never opened again. The third article focused on sanitation and hygiene so that as much as possible we reduced our exposure, and conversely our risk of infection from disease. The fourth article will discuss shelter.

Human beings are incredibly resilient and resourceful creatures when we put our minds to it, but we weren’t really built to live outside in the elements. Humans need shelter from temperature extremes as well as exposure to the elements so if the grid does go down; shelter needs to be high on your list of priorities.

Unless you are a gypsy, homeless or happen to be backpacking your way across Europe, most of us do have a place to live already. You may be asking why this is one of the 5 things you need to go off the grid. It’s true that there should be no shortage of shelter, at least in the form of a shell, for pretty much anyone in the world. What we may not have though are the heating and cooling systems we have today. We also may be forced to leave our homes and make our way to another location. You may be stranded away from your home and need to get back to it.

Without constant irrigation many cities would quickly become wastelands.

Without constant irrigation many cities would quickly become wastelands.

How many people would want to live in Arizona without air conditioning? I have been there and I know a lot of our readers live there now, but can you imagine summer without being able to get out of the blistering 100 degree temperatures that last 4 months out of the year on average? What about growing crops with minimal rainfall? On the flip side, would places like Maine, Minnesota or North Dakota, be a lot of fun in the winter without heat? Sure we can burn wood, but that is not a resource all people have access to right now. Even if everyone had their own wood burning stove, how many cities have forests right outside your door for fresh firewood? Can you imagine how quickly Central Park in New York would be decimated if people were looking for a source of wood to heat their homes? It would probably look a lot like that scene in Lord of the Rings

Could you build your own shelter if you had to?

Electricity is responsible for the majority of our temperature regulation in our homes and businesses. When the power goes away, life will be a lot less pleasant. For some in the extremes, it can be deadly.

But shelter doesn’t only need to be considered from the standpoint of a roof over your head, although that is pretty important. Your clothes are a more important aspect of shelter I believe because with the right clothing, the outside weather is less of a danger. Do you have warm clothes in layers that will keep you alive when the temperature drops into single digits? By the same token, do you have lighter weight clothing that will protect you from the sun in the summer? What about hats to keep rain and sun off of your head?

My daughter, much to my chagrin will frequently go to leave the house in clothes that while they are perfectly fine for inside, would not protect her from the elements. Like a broken record, I say “It’s freezing outside, better grab your coat”. To which she replies: “but I’m going to be inside”. It is at this point in the conversation that I repeat my mantra which everyone in my house has heard before, “You need to dress like you would if you have to walk home”. If something were to happen, would you have the proper clothing to make it back home or would you freeze to death? What if today was the last day you could ever buy any clothes from the store? Would you have appropriate clothes for spending a lot of time outside, possibly living in the elements for short periods? Would you have work clothes if you were forced to begin your garden and work outside of the home more than inside?

Protection from intruders

Reinforced doors can greatly improve your chances of survival in a home-invasion scenario.

Shelter from the elements is one aspect, but what about protection from the human element? Yes, we can lock our doors, but in a grid-down crisis I anticipate desperate people doing desperate things. As part of my strategy for if the grid goes down, I also consider security from the standpoint of reinforcing our home as much as possible to prevent easy access. Would we be able to hold off a determined band for long? Probably not, but we can slow them down.

Strengthening doors is a great step you can take to make your homes more secure, but that is only one access point. Windows are more vulnerable and if someone has a hard time getting in the front door, they can decide they want to bash out your windows. Protective window films offer additional protection and can be easily applied by anyone to make your existing windows act like safety glass. Instead of shattering, the film holds everything together and could buy you some time.

Similar to hurricane preparations, having extra lumber in the form of plywood would make sense so you could board up windows if things really got out of hand. Sandbags are another worst case item that I think would be very useful, right up there with barbed wire and a home defense plan with your neighbors. Assuming of course that is isn’t your neighbors you have to worry about.

Next week we will be discussing the last item to consider for going off grid. I hope you’ll come back and please let me know your thoughts on shelter options that preppers should consider below.

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Veteran Prepper: Adjusting Expectationshttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/23/veteran-prepper-adjusting-expectations/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/23/veteran-prepper-adjusting-expectations/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 12:34:44 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=12958 Written by Bill Crozier on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This article was generously contributed by Bill Crozier and discusses his preparedness journey and the assumptions of friends and family given his experience as a military veteran. Like many of us, the idea of becoming a prepper came gradually. Living in South Florida, hurricanes were always a thought no matter what we did. […]

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Written by Bill Crozier on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This article was generously contributed by Bill Crozier and discusses his preparedness journey and the assumptions of friends and family given his experience as a military veteran.


Like many of us, the idea of becoming a prepper came gradually.

Living in South Florida, hurricanes were always a thought no matter what we did. Even as a child, I can remember “helping” my Father build a new fence in the back yard and he would remark that the fence would not stand up to a Category 2 hurricane. Everything we did had a hurricane in the back of our minds.

Later, I joined the United States Army and prepping took on a different meaning. Obviously, staying in physical shape was a daily routine however; we were always ready to go at a moment’s notice. A “B” bag was packed should the need arise and my LBE (Load Bearing Equipment) was in a constant state of readiness.

After leaving the Military and settling down into an office job, wife, kids and the American dream, I eventually took notice of the things around me.

Violent crime was going up while normal security was going down. Then, the 2004 Hurricane season hit us. I was without power for a total of three months. Fuel was difficult to obtain and I discovered that you can only eat so much peanut butter and jelly before you start to hate food in general.

More than that however was how rapidly law and order broke down. The local neighbors did get together and shared the perishable foods on a BBQ grill and we all kind of hung out together outside (inside the homes were stifling because of the heat) and we took notice of strange vehicles slowly cruising the streets near us. The criminals were out before the winds fully died down. As a Veteran, I felt confident that I would be able to defend myself, my home, and my family with the training that I received from Uncle Sam. I had my AR and lots of ammunition. I had already surveyed the surrounding area and decided what made for good cover, concealment, and, if needed, a good shooting platform from the advantage of height.

Fortunately, I never had to put this into practice. Years later (well, a few years ago), I decided to get serious about prepping. As I stocked up on a few extra firearms and many thousands of rounds of ammunition, I felt good about protecting my family. I taught my wife and my son how to shoot, reload, and clear every firearm we have. I decided where the best and worst places were to defend my home. I was a Soldier. I was part of the best Military fighting force that the world has ever seen. I have been trained to do exactly what I was preparing to do.

And then it hit me. What am I going to do about food and water? Yes, I can stockpile both but, that will eventually run out.

I decided to take an honest assessment of my Military background and, what I discovered scared me a little bit.

Our military relies on an incredibly vast system of supplies and logistics to function.

Our military relies on an incredibly vast system of supplies and logistics to function.

In the Army, I was part of a team. A LARGE team complete with food and water support, medics, artillery, air support, and about 1,000 other guys fighting along with me. In my house, I have none of that. If I get hungry, I cannot simply go to the mess tent and eat and drink. If I get wounded, I cannot go to a medic and get treated. If I need clothing or equipment, I cannot go to the supply room and get more stuff and if my weapon breaks, I cannot hand it to the armory and let them fix it. All of this I would need to do on my own.

Contrary to popular belief, the Military does not generally teach you how to treat water to make it drinkable. They don’t teach you how to hunt (for that matter, you only get trained on a handful of Military weapons). Sewing, food prep, all of the BASIC survival things needed are not taught.

Now, I am not saying that Soldiers/Veterans are helpless. Far from it. One thing that most vets DO have is a “Can Do” attitude. They don’t just roll over and quit.

My point to all of this is that, don’t look to the Veteran and think that he or she can do it all. In the movies, Rambo can fly a helicopter just as easily as you or I can drive a Honda Accord.

Navy SEALS can pick locks, make bombs out of Brillo pads, and use a paper clip to build communications equipment. In reality, unless a Soldier has been specifically trained in a specific skill set (mechanic, cook, medic, etc), they are just like everyone else.

Here in the office, we do talk quite a bit about prepping and, for some reason, people look to me for advice. They seem surprised when they learn that I have never been hunting. (I plan on going next month for the first time). They are shocked to learn that I do not keep my SCUBA gear in my Jeep at all times, aired up and ready to go. I don’t have some kind of really cool 2 way radio that I can use to call in for gunship support.

The Veterans that you interact with every day are just like anyone else. We are all trying to do the best we can with the experiences that life has given us. While it is OK to look to your friends for support, don’t make the mistake of thinking that your Veteran buddy can do it all.

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5 Things You Need to Go Off Grid Now – Pt. 3http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/22/5-things-need-go-off-grid-now-pt-3/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/22/5-things-need-go-off-grid-now-pt-3/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 17:58:40 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=12942 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Welcome back to our series on the 5 things you need to go off grid now, where we began with the premise that going “off grid” might not be something that as Preppers you elect to do for the sake of your family in hopes of greater harmony with Mother Nature. The “Grid” might simply […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Welcome back to our series on the 5 things you need to go off grid now, where we began with the premise that going “off grid” might not be something that as Preppers you elect to do for the sake of your family in hopes of greater harmony with Mother Nature. The “Grid” might simply take the kids and leave you in the middle of the night like Katie Holmes did to Tom. You wake up and something is wrong but it takes you a few minutes to realize your world has changed – in a big way.

To prevent something like this from taking you completely by surprise, or rendering you helpless when you least expect it; we can make plans now to prevent a loss of the grid from being as awful. It could save your marriage too. Well, maybe. I made that last one up, but if making your spouse’s life better and providing for their survival earns you points, this is something to consider.

In the first article in the series we talked about the importance of not only having water stored, but developing a renewable source of water for your family’s needs. If the grid down emergency lasts longer than the amount of water you have stored for emergencies, you will need to collect and filter water; possibly in significant amounts.

After water, we discussed planning for food that will feed your family which would not only take care of short-term emergencies but also allowed you to sustain yourself and your family for longer durations. Long term food storage, gardens and even raising livestock were discussed as part of a balanced plan of food preparedness that can benefit you now as well as if the grid went down.

So you have food and water taken care of or at least an idea on how to start prepping for these essentials in your family plan. What next?

Sanitation and Hygiene

Sometimes the throne is a little less regal, but just as practical.


What goes in must come out. Yes, I know this concept isn’t the sexiest out there, but everybody has to go, sooner or later and we have to have a plan for dealing with “the poop” when it hits the fan. What about electricity or transportation or something else like that? We will get to other items, but sanitation and hygiene are so much more important to the overall health of your family that I chose to deal with them first. Not having electricity won’t kill you, unless you rely on it to live as in life support or breathing machines. Getting sick from germs can kill and frequently does kill in disaster scenarios.

In January of 2010 you may remember the earthquake in Haiti that caused tremendous loss of life, but even after the direct effects of the earthquake stopped, the risk of death from disease only became worse. Ten months after the earthquake, cases of Cholera began to spring up. Cholera is an acute intestinal infection causing profuse diarrhea, vomiting, circulatory collapse and shock. If left untreated, 25-50% of severe cases of Cholera can be fatal.

How do people get Cholera? They get Cholera by drinking water or eating food contaminated with the cholera bacterium – which usually comes from fecal contamination of water or foods. How does food and water get fecally contaminated? Poor or non-existent Sanitation and Hygiene. In Haiti alone from that earthquake they estimate that over 470,000 cases of cholera have been reported. But cholera isn’t the only disease you have to worry about. Poor sanitation can cause Intestinal worms, Schistosomiasis, Trachoma and a whole host of others. We want to have a plan for keeping these germs away from your family so that illness like cholera, which can be prevented doesn’t show up on your door.

Waste Removal

It doesn't have to be pretty, but you need to have a plan.

It doesn’t have to be pretty, but you need to have a plan.

So the grid goes down and you need to go to the bathroom. Can’t you simply go in the toilet or just find a good spot in the yard and let her rip? It really depends on what infrastructure is in place and what services are functioning. If the septic or sewer systems are still functioning, you can use the toilet in your home. The only thing you need is water to flush the waste down and out of your home. If this isn’t possible you have to make other accommodations and since we are talking about the grid going down we have to assume that water isn’t flowing.

Waste needs to be eliminated and you have to do this in a way that does not contaminate water supplies and can be covered to prevent flies and other insects from spreading disease. Human waste should be kept at least 150 away from the nearest water source and you can create grid-down bathroom facilities in a number of ways. Five gallon buckets with modified lids make a simple option that will allow you to do your business inside and carry the waste, usually in a plastic garbage bag outside for disposal. Keeping a supply of lime to cover the waste is a good idea also and will keep odors down, dirt works in a pinch too.

You can also dig cat holes or slit trenches and get fancy if the need to sanitation lasts for a long time. If the grid actually goes down for more than a few days, you will need to look at a more permanent solution for waste disposal.

Hygiene

 

The basics of keeping your cooking utensils clean and germ free.

The basics of keeping your cooking utensils clean and germ free.

Eventually, you may need to make your own soap.

Even with waste being kept far away from humans and the water supply, you will still need to practice hygiene to keep surfaces clean that will come in contact with your body or the food you put into your body. Hand washing is an obvious one and you will need to wash your hands to reduce infection. Some people simply plan on stocking up on giant containers of hand-sanitizer but I prefer good old soap and water. Plus you will want to shower occasionally or bathe I am pretty sure. As part of your prepping supplies, you can learn how to make your own soap, or just buy a couple of dozen bars of cheap soap. It won’t go bad and doesn’t need refrigeration.

Along with your hands and body, you will need to keep cooking surfaces clean. You can stock up on paper plates and plastic cutlery but like anything else, that will eventually run out. Plastic spoons can be washed, but you can’t really do that with paper plates so at some point you will need to consider a wash station. This can be as simple as two plastic bins. One with clean, soapy water and the other for rinsing. Keeping your cooking utensils will eliminate the risk of disease and give the slacker in your group something to do if they don’t want to dig another latrine hole.

Tomorrow we will continue on the journey of planning for off grid living in a disaster. I hope you will join us again.

The post 5 Things You Need to Go Off Grid Now – Pt. 3 appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

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5 Things You Need to Go Off Grid Now – Pt. 2http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/21/5-things-need-go-off-grid-now-pt-2/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/21/5-things-need-go-off-grid-now-pt-2/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 17:16:11 +0000 http://theprepperjournal.com/?p=12906 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Our last article; the first in this series of 5 things you need to go off grid now, began with the concept of preppers looking for an ideal life of untethering ourselves from “the grid” in an effort to enjoy a more self-sufficient life. To that end, many of us only consider moving to rural […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Our last article; the first in this series of 5 things you need to go off grid now, began with the concept of preppers looking for an ideal life of untethering ourselves from “the grid” in an effort to enjoy a more self-sufficient life. To that end, many of us only consider moving to rural land and building homes that depend less on some of the interconnected systems we rely on today. But even if that isn’t possible for most of us currently, we might be wise to plan on going off grid anyway. In a disaster scenario, we might not have any other choice. If the grid goes down due to any one of dozens of possibilities and you aren’t at your perfect survival retreat in the woods, what do you need to consider now that could impact your family’s survival?

The last article covered water primarily because more than almost anything else, water is needed for survival. The average human person can only go for three days without water so in a grid down situation, this will need to be one of the top if not your first priority. If you have water taken care of, the next thing you will need if the grid goes down is food.

Food

After water, our bodies need food for energy and nourishment. When I started prepping; food and water were the first two items I began to consider for the obvious health related requirements, but unlike a survival bunker, stocking up on extra food is an easy thing to do. On top of that, not too many people look at you with a weird expression when you simply purchase a little extra food each trip. I just blamed my children for being pigs… “Man! You just won’t believe how much spaghetti my 6-year-old puts away.”

Each and every one of us eats food every day so it isn’t like we need to plan clandestine trips to the Army Navy store to avoid letting our neighbors know we are prepping. The concept you need to remember is planning for the Grid down scenario where you won’t be able to load up the car and drive over to the local supermarket. If the grid really does go down in a major way, you will need to already have a plan in place for taking care of your food needs both short and long-term. You will not be able to begin your food storage after a disaster.

Stocking up on groceries

Easy food storage start is to simply buy a little more each week of what you already eat.

Easy food storage start is to simply buy a little more each week of what you already eat.

There are many ways you can begin to think about food after a collapse and the simplest short-term solution is to simply stock up on the foods your family already eats. When you go to the grocery store; if you buy 3 jars of spaghetti sauce normally for example, just buy one more. I won’t lie and say that purchasing extra groceries will not cost you more money, but it is the easiest way to build your supplies. For a lot of us, we have more money than time right now. In our imaginary grid-down scenario there will be no power so I would recommend against stocking the freezer only or buying dozens of microwave burritos. In addition to planning your food storage, you have to consider how you will cook this food if the power is no longer working, but I will deal with that in another article.

Long term food storage

When we think about planning for long term food storage, we routinely consider canned foods or foods that have been sealed to prevent spoilage for a long time. You can purchase bulk items like rice and beans and seal them with oxygen absorbers in 5 gallon buckets. This will allow you to store a lot of food for a really long time. Optionally, there are dozens of companies that sell freeze-dried food where they have done the job of protecting the food for you. Of course, this food will cost you more than what you can spend if you do the work yourself, but there are some advantages. You can assume that most of these companies know what they are doing more so than you starting out which may give you comfort in knowing that when you need to use the food you are storing it will have been properly stored and you won’t open up a 5 gallon bucket of rotten rice.

Growing a survival garden

Even if you spend $10,000 on food and you have it locked in your basement, eventually that food will run out. What if the grid is still down when all your food supplies are depleted? To really be in the best shape you can be in when the grid goes down you need to have your own source of renewable foods. The most obvious and understood option is to have a garden. Gardens are not a cure-all though and require a significant amount of up front work, planning and there is a learning curve.

A garden is simply a prepping must-have to live off-grid.

A garden is simply a prepping must-have to live off-grid.

Many preppers I know plan to start their garden when the grid goes down and that is not a good strategy in my opinion for a few reasons. First, simply making a garden plot takes a lot more than a shovel and a rake unless you already have tilled soil that is ready. Most of us have a spot in our backyard where we imagine that beautiful little garden with nice neat, weed-free rows of fresh vegetables. That doesn’t happen overnight and it certainly doesn’t happen without some hard work.

Secret Garden gives excellent tips on growing your own camouflaged food forest to reduce the threat of anyone stealing your food.

Assuming you have a nice plot of land without any grass or weeds, you may need to amend your soil to give it the right nutrients. Composting and adding natural fertilizers help with this but again, that isn’t something you will have on day one. And, probably the best reason against this plan is that those beautiful vegetables take time to grow. You can’t wait until you are hungry and expect to go dig a hole and plant your survival seeds. You could be waiting months for the first fruits of your labor. I recommend starting a garden now. The Farmer’s Almanac says that a 16 x 10 foot garden will feed a family of four with a little left over for canning and freezing. What if your crops fail? I would plan on a much larger garden even though that is more work and the reality of it is you may be looking to convert every single square inch of dirt you have into food production. You will also need to plan on canning supplies and all that goes with that. Gardens do not provide food all winter so you will need to grow enough to eat and put away to last you during the winter months.

Something else to consider is your garden will be visible to anyone walking past your property. A really brilliant alternative would be to use the food forest concept to grow a camouflaged food forest so that your food supplies are less likely targets of wandering hungry people. Rick Austin has a book we reviewed a while back that introduces these concepts called “Secret Garden of Survival” and I think that is a great place to start.

Raising Livestock

OK, so you have a full pantry and even have a stash of freeze-dried foods under the beds and in the closets. Your garden is underway and you are already seeing the first fruits from your plot of dirt. What about protein?

Rabbits are a low footprint option for raising a lot of meat.


Assuming you aren’t a vegetarian, meat is on the menu or it would ideally be in a grid down scenario. Sure you could plan on hunting but you will be in competition with everyone else in this grid-down world that is hungry too. I believe in a massive collapse, any wildlife would be quickly depleted and the chances of getting wild game would be slim. Sure, legumes and some grains have protein, but for those of us who like to eat meat there are a couple of relatively simple options to consider in a grid-down world that you can even use now.

Chickens are incredibly easy to raise and take care of. They just need some basic protection from the elements, good quality food and water. In return you will get delicious fresh eggs. At our house I have fresh eggs every morning for breakfast. Raising rabbits is another great option for protein but they will need to be slaughtered and butchered. Rabbits are prolific breeders – a single female has on average 8 kits per litter and their gestational period is about a month. Assuming you start with three rabbits (2 females and one male) you could have well over a hundred rabbits in the first year.

Aquaponics is another option that I think lends itself to an off-grid lifestyle, but it does require power. Raising chickens and rabbits does not.

Tomorrow we will get into the third thing you need to go off grid. Water and food are checked off our list. Can you guess what is next?

The post 5 Things You Need to Go Off Grid Now – Pt. 2 appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

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5 Things You Need to Go Off Grid Now – Pt. 1http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/20/5-things-need-go-off-grid-now-pt-1/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/20/5-things-need-go-off-grid-now-pt-1/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 21:21:32 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=12885 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Like some of you reading the Prepper Journal, I have long wanted the ‘Prepper dream’ of a large tract of mostly wooded land, complete with a large stream or river gently rolling through the property. In this imaginary paradise full of wild game and fertile soil, I would set up my modest log cabin complete […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Like some of you reading the Prepper Journal, I have long wanted the ‘Prepper dream’ of a large tract of mostly wooded land, complete with a large stream or river gently rolling through the property. In this imaginary paradise full of wild game and fertile soil, I would set up my modest log cabin complete with all the amenities (underground man cave/survival bunker) that we could purchase or build which would allow us to go off grid and be able to live as self-reliant as possible. Naturally I roll up to my homestead in the woods in my brand new Devolro Tundra, complete with Realtree paint job – family in tow, breathe in the fresh air and smile with contentment.

For me, those dreams are on hold, but definitely not forgotten.

There are those who are searching right now for the perfect piece of land and who may have already made plans to move their family, but for the large majority of the rest of us, this is simply not possible. Oh, I know there are those out there who will say anything is possible if you just put your mind and priorities to it and I agree that there is truth in that saying. Maybe I should say that it is far too much trouble now for me to do what is necessary to move, for a lot of factors I won’t get into in this post. I did want to discuss going off grid from another standpoint though and that is from the perspective of events or circumstances out of our control.

What if you don’t get to choose when you go off grid. What if the grid suddenly up and leaves you without so much as a dear John letter? For those of us who have dreamed of that self-reliant way of life by that picturesque cabin in the forest, our reality could be our suburban homes are rendered Grid-less in some future disaster and when that happens, will you have what it takes to live off the grid?

There are common elements to living off grid and I want to discuss these today and how you can take steps now in anticipation of a future disruption in the status quo. Today we will begin a five part discussion on the 5 things you need to go off grid and how to make your home prepared for that possibility right where you are, without the trouble of moving or chopping down a lot of trees. Oh, and the Devolro is optional too… unfortunately.

Water

To go off the grid, it helps to have sufficient water collection capacity.

To go off the grid, it helps to have sufficient water collection capacity.

This may come as no surprise to most of you but water is a necessity. If you and “the grid” go through a nasty breakup, you will still need the basics for survival. Water is one of the easiest items to stock up on now, but finding it, collecting it, transporting it and making it safe to drink, make this no trivial item when the taps are shut off.

High capacity water storage tanks like this 530 gallon tank from Bushman would solve a lot of grid-down water problems.

High capacity water storage tanks like this 530 gallon tank from Bushman would solve a lot of grid-down water problems.

Source – A source of water is an absolute necessity and as much as I like to point to rain barrels as one potential option, you will need to make sure that the capacity you are collecting is enough to last you from rain to rain. The beautiful thing about rainwater collection is that collection is virtually zero work once you have the system set up and it is possible to get an insane amount of water from the mildest of downpours. For every 1” of rain on 1000 square feet of roof you can collect around 600 gallons. If you have moderate rains, this could keep a family of 4 in water for a long time. (1 gallon per person per day x 30 days) = 30 X 4 people = 120 gallons of water minimum per month. With only one inch of rain and the right capacity of a rain barrel system, this could keep you stocked with plenty of water for 5 months! Double the capacity and you have doubled the supply. The Tank Depot has great slim line water tanks from Bushman that will fit nice and snug to your house and come in several colors that hold 530 gallons of water each. Two of those are an approximately $1700 investment that could hold 1160 gallons.

Not everyone has that much money to plunk down on a thousand gallon water storage tanks so there are other options, sizes and price points. You can purchase nice decorative rain barrels that hold closer to 50 gallons at your local hardware store or purchase used food grade barrels and build your own system from much cheaper. There are more videos of rain barrel videos on YouTube than you can shake a stick at.

Collection – If you are unable to collect rain water and are forced to go acquire it somewhere you will need containers to hold the water you are transporting. One thing to consider here is that water is heavy in quantity. Sure, you can carry that single liter water bottle around all day but if you are humping it to the water hole you probably want to get enough so that your efforts aren’t wasted. At the very least, you don’t want to have to go out every day to get water if you don’t have to. There could be threats to your life going out so take that into consideration.

A means to transport the water is best and I think a heavy duty rolling yard cart would be ideal unless you have your own mules. You could load 20 gallons of water easily in 5 gallon water containers or buckets in one trip and wheel that back to your home. If you had to carry your own water and didn’t have the benefit of a cart, I doubt many people would be carrying more than 5 gallons at a time. Additionally, if you are carrying water without a cart, you want something with handles. Don’t be that guy schlepping off to the water hole with 2 liter Pepsi bottles tied with your paracord around your neck. That would work, but seriously???

Filtering water doesn’t get much easier than gravity fed units like this Berkey Light.

Filtration – This is the part of the water problem that will cause more illnesses to survivors after you and the grid are splits-ville I think and that is drinking contaminated water. There are virtually no untainted sources of water unless you tap into a spring right as it is coming out of the ground or a well. For anyone collecting water from a pond, river or stream and even those rain barrels, you will need to disinfect your water. The absolutely easiest way to make a lot of water safe for drinking in my opinion is a gravity filter like the Big Berkey line of water filters.

I have the Berkey light and it doesn’t get much simpler than pouring water in the top. Gravity feeds the water through the special filter elements and the water collects in the bottom reservoir ready for drinking. The only work you have to do in the filtering process is to pour. The filters have a life of about 4 years assuming 4 gallons a day and usually only require gentle cleaning if your water is nasty. You can purchase replacement berkey filters now, to have on-hand.

Options? If you don’t have water filters, you can absolutely boil water or use bleach to disinfect but that takes time, energy (building a fire) or you have to worry that you either have too much or not enough bleach to water ratio. For me, simpler is better.

Tomorrow we will discuss the second aspect of going off the grid. I hope you will come back and join us and as always, please comment with questions or opinions below.

The post 5 Things You Need to Go Off Grid Now – Pt. 1 appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

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Gear Review: USMC Tactical Survival Axehttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/19/gear-review-usmc-tactical-survival-axe/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/19/gear-review-usmc-tactical-survival-axe/#comments Mon, 19 Jan 2015 15:39:40 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=12871 Written by Capt. William E. Simpson on The Prepper Journal.

This is not your uncle’s camping axe! I am not an expert with edged weapons, even though I have a trunk-load of them, including the old Buck hunting knife that my Dad gave me when I was a teenager many moons ago. So with that said, I wanted to share my latest prize, which was […]

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Written by Capt. William E. Simpson on The Prepper Journal.

This is not your uncle’s camping axe!

I am not an expert with edged weapons, even though I have a trunk-load of them, including the old Buck hunting knife that my Dad gave me when I was a teenager many moons ago. So with that said, I wanted to share my latest prize, which was a Christmas gift from my son-in-law who is a serving USMC Officer who enlisted in the Corps and became a sniper. After his combat tour he was ‘mustang-ed’ into the officer’s program, and our entire family is very proud of him.

So back to my ‘gift’… I have seen and held a few axes, including what are known as ‘battle axes’, which have little utility in survival situations. The particular axe that is in the photos herein was designed and is built to USMC specs as a tactical survival axe by Elite Tactical. The USMC Tactical Survival Axe is no ordinary survival axe… it carries in its design the experience of the USMC.

USMCTacticalSurvivalAxe1

The USMC Tactical Survival Axe

This axe is the real-deal, bad boy! The first thing I noticed when I picked it up is that it is a balanced instrument. As I said, I’m not an expert in edged weapons, but I strongly suspect that this axe could be effectively used as a throwing weapon (with practice). It is built like a tank and utilizes a combination of a corrosion free heavy-duty nylon fiber handle and a special stainless steel alloy for the axe-head. In addition to the large edge for chopping and splitting wood (etc.), the opposite pick end is effective for a host of uses, including piercing light gauge steel. So as we see, this unique axe is a hybrid between a camp axe and a battle-axe.

There’s more to this tactical axe than expected

There’s more to this tactical axe than expected

But there’s more to this axe than meets the eye… the end of the handle has an ‘O’-ring sealed threaded cap complete with a very useful length of paracord. And when you remove this robust cap, set inside the heavy alloy handle cap is a high-quality compass! Inside the axe handle is another spring-loaded container that protrudes when the cap is removed, and inside that cylinder are additional goodies; a stainless steel fishing hook, a nice long length of fishing line, a bandage, a striker and half-dozen waterproof matches. There was room, so I added a curved sewing needle and nylon thread suitable for suturing flesh wounds or mending clothing to my kit.

You can get more details about the USMC Tactical Survival Axe by going to this specs page.

Being prepared today means being ready for tomorrow.

 

Cheers! Capt. Bill

Capt. William E. Simpson II – USMM Ret.
Semper Veritas / Semper Paratus

http://www.WilliameSimpson.com
IMDb:
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm6505899/
Twitter: 
https://twitter.com/NauticalPrepper
Member:  Authors Guild

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Depression Recipes – Simple Meal Ideas for Hard Timeshttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/17/depression-recipes-simple-meal-ideas-hard-times/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/17/depression-recipes-simple-meal-ideas-hard-times/#comments Sat, 17 Jan 2015 11:00:08 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=12840 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

The Great Depression is almost universally thought of as the darkest time in recent U.S. history from at least a financial standpoint. Like many of you, I know close family members who lived through the depression and their stories of the hardships, but more precisely how they made do regardless of the times, always seem […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

The Great Depression is almost universally thought of as the darkest time in recent U.S. history from at least a financial standpoint. Like many of you, I know close family members who lived through the depression and their stories of the hardships, but more precisely how they made do regardless of the times, always seem to fascinate me. People were much hardier back then I believe. This period of time is how we imagine life at its hardest; and the realities that so many people faced during that roughly 10 year span seem to loom larger in our collective consciousness to this day. All we need are the right present day events for us all to see how we fare in a similar situation and the worst predictions seem to point to a time where the Great Depression will look like a picnic by comparison.

There are some that say we are already living through another great depression but we don’t know it because of the social safety nets, which over 100 million people rely on daily to get by. Rather than waiting in line for soup and bread, you are given a credit card so you can buy junk food at the store like everyone else. Remove the stigma of public poverty and one could argue the actual harsh effects, and you might struggle less to get out of it. At a minimum, if nobody sees the outward face of poverty, why worry? Not that people on welfare have it good, but the poor in this country live like Kings and Queens compared to the poor in India or China.

Regardless of where you live, it can’t be argued that the prices of food are rising. When the price of groceries increases too far or your ability to pay is decreased, that is when creativity comes into the kitchen and you will need to adjust your menu. During the depression, meat was a luxury that was often only eaten once a week. When I say meat, I am talking about Hot Dogs. Forget having your steaks if we enter another depression. Meals were frequently based on a few simple ingredients like potatoes, flour, onions and vegetables that were grown in the family garden.

Clara's Kitchen

Clara’s Kitchen: Depression Recipes

Our society faces a few problems, not the least of which is the ability to grow our own food. In the 1930’s we didn’t have frozen dinners, fast food restaurants and microwaves. Most rural families had their own gardens. If we were to suffer an event now, like the great depression that saw 25% of all workers out of a job, there would be a lot of people unable to eat. That is one of the reasons preppers talk about starting to garden now so that you will not be behind the curve when it’s too late.

If it does come to that and you find it is time to tighten your belt and start making do with less, I thought it would be a good idea to look back in time to see some of the depression recipes that people used to make. I know that we stock up on food that we eat now in the hopes that we will have enough to last us, but I doubt anyone here has stocked up 10 years’ worth of food. If another great depression happens, we will be required to be more frugal and these depression recipes allow you to feed your family with much less.

I have included a few recipes below, but there are also some great books like Clara’s Kitchen: Wisdom, Memories, and Recipes from the Great Depression. Clara also had her own YouTube Channel and you can see her prepare her Poor man’s Meal and talk about living through the great depression below.

In addition to Clara’s Poormans’ Meal, here are a few other options.

Great Depression Pork Stew – Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 2 -3 large pork chops
  • 4 large white potatoes
  • 2 large yellow onions
  • 6 stalks celery, include leaves
  • 1/2 gallon water
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes

Directions

  1. Boil pork until it falls from the bone. Cut into small bite sized pieces (fat as well) and return to pot with some salt and pepper and keep on slow simmer.
  2. Peel and cut potatoes into bite size chunks.
  3. Roughly dice the onion and celery. Add all vegetables and bouillon cubes to the pot and bring to a boil. Simmer low until vegetables are done. Thicken with a mix of flour and cold water. Taste for salt or pepper.
  4. The stew is white with some green so you might want to add a chopped carrot for color.
  5. Serve in deep soup bowls with biscuits on the side. Some may want to add ketchup to their bowl of stew. This is OK – I do it.
  6. You may substitute and inexpensive cut of pork for this recipe.

 

Depression Era Recipes

Depression Era Recipes

Old Fashioned Corn and Potato Salad– Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups cooked corn (canned is fine)
  • 2 cups diced potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 2 cups hot milk
  • 1 tablespoon flour, mixed with
  • 1 tablespoon water

Directions

  1. Combine, in a large pot, all ingredients except milk and flour/water.
  2. Cook until potatoes are fork tender.
  3. Add milk and flour/water, stirring well.
  4. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Serve with chopped green onion and shredded cheese as a garnish.

Creamed Tuna on Toast – Serves 4

Creamed Tuna on Toast

Creamed Tuna on Toast

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 can drained tuna fish
  • 1 cup frozen peas (or to taste)
  • salt and pepper
  • bread (for toasting)

Directions

  • Thaw frozen peas in a colander.
  • Melt the margarine in a saucepan.
  • Add the flour and blend.
  • Add the milk, stirring constantly to prevent clumping and stir until creamy.
  • Add the tuna, peas, salt and pepper and warm through.
  • As the tuna is warming, toast bread.
  • After toasted, cut in triangles and spoon tuna mixture over the toast.

 

Cornmeal Griddle Cakes – Serves 10-15

Cornmeal Griddle Cakes

Cornmeal Griddle Cakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons fat, melted

Directions

  • Mix and sift dry ingredients.
  • Combine beaten egg and milk.
  • Add to dry ingredients.
  • Stir in shortening.
  • Pour on a hot griddle.

Wacky Cake – 1 Cake

This gained fame during the depression because unlike traditional cake recipes, the wacky cake didn’t need milk or eggs. It is still delicious!

 

Wacky Cake

Wacky Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Sift flour, sugar, salt, soda, and cocoa together into an 8×8 inch ungreased cake pan. Make three depressions. Pour oil into one well, vinegar into second, and vanilla into third well. Pour water over all, and stir well with fork.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 to 40 minutes, or until tooth pick inserted comes out clean. Frost with your favorite icing.

 

Do you have any depression recipes your family loves?

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Cruising for Disaster: Are you Prepared?http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/16/are-you-prepared/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/16/are-you-prepared/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2015 11:00:32 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=12777 Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editors Note: The following guest article has been generously contributed by reader Sideliner 1950 and discusses preparations many of us neglect. Disasters don’t only happen when we are expecting them, so to leave preparedness practices behind when you are traveling or on vacation could end up being a huge mistake. Sideliner’s article describes how one […]

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editors Note: The following guest article has been generously contributed by reader Sideliner 1950 and discusses preparations many of us neglect. Disasters don’t only happen when we are expecting them, so to leave preparedness practices behind when you are traveling or on vacation could end up being a huge mistake. Sideliner’s article describes how one such incident changed his thoughts on preparedness for the future. It might adjust your perspective as well.


 

When we travel, whether for business or pleasure, we leave behind the comfort, structure, and relative security of our home environment. Each time we venture to new and strange places we expose ourselves to risks that may be completely unknown or unfamiliar to us. As much as possible, reasonable people want to stack the deck in our favor to improve our chances of survival, should the SHTF somewhere along our way. That’s why more and more of us are equipping ourselves with EDC gear and/or Get Home Bags before venturing out even on relatively short trips, like our daily commutes to work and home again. It’s a jungle out there, and the farther from home we venture, the greater the chance that we will expose ourselves to greater risks. But wouldn’t you agree that risk is what makes travel interesting and exciting?

We are fortunate to live in a time when air travel can reduce a voyage of thousands of miles to mere hours. But the present-day version of airline travel — complete with TSA security screening processes, airline baggage fees, and restrictions — succeeds in discouraging us from taking along many of the tools, gadgets, and supplies we would really like to have with us at our destinations. In contrast, traveling by auto, bus, rail, and ship all afford us the freedom to take along pretty much whatever we want. (The image of The Beverly Hillbillies comes to mind.) When our travel involves multiple modes of transport, then the most restrictive mode — usually the airlines — becomes the template we must observe while packing our bags. If first you must fly to reach the cruise port where you’ll board a ship, for example, you’ll need to measure what you pack for the cruise, or pay the price at the airport.

If you’ve ever taken a cruise on any of the magnificent, state-of-the-art cruise ships, large or small, you may share my opinion that cruising can be a terrific way to spend your vacation while sampling exotic destinations. Great cruise deals appear from time to time and can translate into significant “bang for your travel buck”. Recently my wife and I enjoyed a “very low season” 7-day cruise aboard one of the newer, large-ish cruise ships, for not many dollars. I’m happy to report that ours was a pleasant and positive experience in every way, and that we are still basking in the afterglow of our week at sea. We’d love to take another cruise soon.

Before this cruise it hadn’t occurred to me to do anything in particular to better prepare us for the possibility of a SHTF situation at sea. What changed? On the second day of our cruise I met a nice couple from north Texas, and after exchanging “howdy-do’s” I asked them whether they had been on any other cruises. They said they had, and proceeded to tell me the tale of a cruise the wife took with some of her co-workers a couple of years ago, during which a fire broke out in the engine room. They recounted how in a matter of minutes, with no warning whatsoever, the quality of life aboard their cruise ship deteriorated from a fun, comfortable, carefree, luxurious vacation to a decidedly uncomfortable, frightening, frustrating survival challenge. Since hearing their story, I have been giving considerable thought to being better prepared for a disaster at sea.

Can cruise ship passengers reasonably prepare themselves for unexpected conditions such as those that befell the nice lady from north Texas? We should try. How? The flippant answer might be, “Bring your well-stocked bug-out-bag!” But thanks to common sense and the airlines, doing so is neither necessary nor practical. Still, there may be certain items in your well-stocked bug-out-bag that would be good to bring along…they could come in very handy, provided you have them with you when disaster strikes. (Isn’t that always the case?)

Which items? These are the ones I settled on:

All familiar items; nothing fancy here. Collectively, this gear probably won’t add more than 5 or 6 pounds to the weight of your checked baggage (baggage weight possibly being a limiting factor if you’re traveling by air to/from your port of embarkation.) What’s more, you may have already included in your packed baggage certain items like the umbrella, the binoculars, and sunscreen, further reducing that figure.

Finally, once you arrive in your port city, give serious consideration picking up a flat of 16.9 oz. bottles of drinking water. Upon arrival at the dock for our check-in my wife and I observed several passengers in the line who had brought with them full cases (40 count) of bottled water…that puzzled us at first, but after hearing our Texas friends’ story we came to appreciate what their reasoning might have been. Just stop at a store and pick up water and other items on your way to the cruise port.

“Seriously? Is all this stuff really necessary??” you ask. My answer is, “I sure hope not!” But these items could have significantly improved this lady’s experience. You can decide for yourself…

Some passengers spelled out H.E.L.P on the deck.

Some passengers spelled out H.E.L.P on the deck.

As I mentioned, the Lady from north Texas and her several co-workers were passengers aboard a popular cruise ship that experienced an engine-room fire while at sea in the Gulf of Mexico early one morning in February, 2013. Her husband did not accompany her on the cruise. Fortunately, the fire was extinguished quickly and there were no fatalities; but the fire resulted in a total loss of propulsion, and triggered failures of most of the ship’s major systems. The ship, its passengers, and its crew spent several unscheduled days adrift at sea awaiting relief, rescue, and relocation to dry land. Scheduled as a four-day cruise, it turned into a seven-day ordeal. The ship was without normal power and function for the last five days before reaching port.

In the aftermath, as part of her compensation from the cruise company, she was given a free future cruise; and the cruise my wife and I were on happened to be the one they booked for themselves. Happily for us all, on our cruise we enjoyed the “cruise line brochure experience” which in no way resembled the nightmare of her previous cruise.

With no power, ventilation was not possible so many passengers took to sleeping on the deck.

With no power, ventilation was not possible so many passengers took to sleeping on the deck.

You may recall seeing television news stories and videos of the event. You may also be aware of the misery she, her co-workers, and a total of some 4200 passengers and crew suffered through during that crisis.  There are numerous narratives and news clips you can access online. Since a picture can speak a thousand words, here’s a link to some of the photos taken during the course of the event:    Images for carnival triumph fire

As awful as this lady’s experience may have been, she emphasized repeatedly that conditions weren’t quite as bad for her as they were for many others aboard, because her cabin had a balcony that afforded her both illumination during daylight and full-time access to fresh air, even though it was not conditioned air.  During the five days between the fire event and her disembarkation in Mobile, LA, she mostly remained in her cabin or on her balcony.  Less fortunate passengers occupying cabins without balconies had no air conditioning, no natural ventilation, and no natural light. You can imagine how quickly such an environment would turn hostile. A lot of passengers took their mattresses and pillows into the hallways or up to the Lido (pool) Deck or other open decks, and hung sheets overhead for shade, as depicted in some of the photos. One day the ship encountered a rainstorm which forced those many deck-dwellers back indoors, while the stuff they left outside in the rain got wet.

Bed sheets were put to use as shelter from the sun.

Bed sheets were put to use as shelter from the sun.

These are some of the detrimental effects of the fire on the quality of life aboard ship and after disembarkation.

1) Soon after the fire started, the ship lost propulsion. It went absolutely “dead in the water”, many miles from land, moved about only by wind and currents. The ship and its occupants were adrift and alone on the ocean.

2) Electricity, air conditioning, refrigeration, telephones, faucets, sinks, drains, and the vacuum toilets all failed, and soon toilets backed up and raw sewage overflowed.

When power was lost so was the ability for the sewage system to work properly. From them on the incident became known as the Poop Cruise.

When power was lost so was the ability for the sewage system to work properly. From then on the incident became known as the Poop Cruise.

3) Food spoilage commenced almost immediately. Before long, the massive quantities of food aboard that required refrigeration were deemed unfit for human consumption and made unavailable.  The sumptuous mountains of delicious fare normally proudly displayed simply vanished, only to be replaced by soggy sandwiches, dry cereal, and bottled water. And for the remainder of the ordeal, the lines to obtain those meager offerings were hours long, even after help arrived and additional provisions were boarded. The dining experience never returned to normal.

4) The ship listed slightly, first to one side where it remained for some time; and later to the other side. Each time it listed, additional sewage spilled out and onto the floors.

5) Many crew-to-passenger communications as well as “official” company public relations statements and press releases provided to the on-shore media were inaccurate or incomplete, and in some cases simply false (whether intentionally or not). With commendable foresight, this lady took notes and used her smart phone to log events and record most of the crew announcements. Back home in Texas, her husband was contacted by the cruise line during the crisis and provided with information that was later determined to be at odds with reality. The discrepancies were borne out by his wife’s notes, the smart-phone recordings she had made, and the accurate history of the event.

The crowded conditions and lack of power quickly turned into a nightmare.

The crowded conditions and lack of power quickly turned into a nightmare.

6) Eventually (but not immediately) the crew distributed plastic biohazard bags to passengers, along with instructions to “go #1 in the shower, and #2 in the bag”; but by then much damage was already done. The powerful stench of raw sewage and urine permeated the ship’s stifling interior spaces, and wafted to the outdoor decks.

7) The early plan consisted of towing the ship to Progreso, a port on the north side of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, and disembarking the passengers there. But since over 900 passengers had no passports (not legally required for their original itinerary), and since all the while the wind and currents were moving the ship many miles north, that plan was scrapped in favor of towing the ship to Mobile, Alabama.  Before and while the ship was being towed from its point of rescue, other ships arrived and transferred supplies to the stricken ship and its needy and grateful occupants — food, water, beverages, tools, emergency supplies, bio-hazard bags, medical supplies, etc. At long last, after many delays, including a tow-line snapping, the stricken ship was finally gently nudged into position at an undersized berth at the Port of Mobile, Alabama, some 500 nautical miles from Progreso, Mexico, and over 350 nautical miles from the ship’s home port of Galveston, Texas. In the end, the ship was three days late making port, during which time it became necessary to execute a medical evacuation of at least one passenger, who was in need of dialysis.

8) Intense sun caused difficulties for those relegated to inhabiting the outside decks. Natural shade needed augmentation, and sunburns were common.

9) Passengers characterized the post-cruise support they received — including lodging on shore and transportation arrangements for their homeward travel — as being “confusing,” or “completely unhelpful,” or worse.

Passengers gather around make shift charging stations of emergency generators aboard powerless cruise ship.

Passengers gather around make shift charging stations of emergency generators aboard powerless cruise ship.

This couple’s account of the event and their personal observations during the crisis was an eye-opener for me. It gave me deeper appreciation of what the term “SHTF” could mean (sorry!)I concluded that this accident easily fits my personal parameters of both a “disaster” and a “survival event”: the grid was down. The infrastructure was damaged. Redundancies were unavailable. Normal life and self-sufficiency were impossible, as was immediate resupply or rescue. Sleep was difficult, uncomfortable, and sporadic. Passengers and crew grew physically tired. Medical professionals were few, and medical facilities were rudimentary. The elderly and disabled especially suffered. A full-on rescue effort became necessary; and ahead of that rescue a survival effort was required; even then, survival was uncertain. Food and water immediately became scarce, and for a good while traditional sanitation methods were impossible. Atmospheric conditions were oppressive — often hot, often dark, often too sunny, sometimes rainy, and most always nauseatingly smelly. Unsanitary conditions were inescapable. The ship listed slightly. “Officials” made inaccurate statements and promises they couldn’t keep. Uncertainty, distrust, and mistrust existed toward the cruise line. And owing in no small part to their isolation at sea, heightened feelings of helplessness, anger, and despair affected the passengers.

This event could have been much worse. Fortunately absent from the scenario were riots and looting; but had it taken much longer to effect the rescue, well, who can say? On the positive side, unlike victims of Hurricane Katrina, whose homes and much of a city were destroyed, once the ship arrived in port, the passengers disembarked and literally put their collective misery behind them, returned to their respective homes, and tried get on with their lives. The passengers’ “healing” could begin almost immediately. The mind-boggling job of cleaning and repairing a badly damaged and sorely-abused cruise ship was a task left for others to perform over the next several months, at great expense.

Back on land, some survivors of the ordeal were obviously thankful.

Back on land, some survivors of the ordeal were obviously thankful.

The next time we go on a cruise, we will take with us all the items listed above, even if it means leaving behind other “nice-to-have” items for weight considerations. And we have a kind of “strategy”: as soon as we are allowed to board the ship, we will visit the ship’s buffet, fill our bellies, and relax a bit. We will then gather an additional supply of food from the buffet, put it in our Ziplock bags, and carry it all back to our cabin, where we’ll put as many of the perishable items as possible into our cabin’s refrigerator. Each day after that we will refresh or replenish our supply of fruit, vegetables, cereal, hard boiled eggs, rolls, cold cuts, cheese, condiment packets, etc. And, because we’re both addicted to caffeine, we’ll be sure to bring with us some of our favorite instant coffee from home and devise a way to enjoy at least a cup each morning.

Do I think it’s really necessary to do all this? “I sure hope not!”

I invite and welcome your ideas, comments, and criticism.

Thanks for reading all the way down to here.

 

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13 Skills to Learn Now for Survival Laterhttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/15/13-skills-learn-now-survival-later/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/15/13-skills-learn-now-survival-later/#comments Thu, 15 Jan 2015 11:00:17 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=12759 Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Evaluating survival readiness takes more than just 13 questions. However these thirteen skills to learn in the areas of food, water, shelter, protection and communication will form a solid foundation of preparation and readiness. 1. Finding Food: The ability to locate wild game is essential for survival. This includes understanding habitats, wind direction and animal […]

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Evaluating survival readiness takes more than just 13 questions. However these thirteen skills to learn in the areas of food, water, shelter, protection and communication will form a solid foundation of preparation and readiness.

1. Finding Food: The ability to locate wild game is essential for survival. This includes understanding habitats, wind direction and animal behavior.

2. Preparing Food: There’s no need to cook a grasshopper but for other sources of protein, proper field dressing and cooking is needed to prevent disease and sickness.

3. Agriculture: Hunting won’t always be a viable option so you’ll need to know which crops you can grow, preferably without or with little irrigation, such as corn.

4. Food Storage: As the graphic displays, 53 percent of surveyed adults don’t have a minimum three-day supply of nonperishable food and water. Those without food storage will quickly find themselves in a dire situation.

5. Finding Water: Water collecting contraptions can not only save you in the wilderness but will also work to replenish your water supply.

6. Purifying Water: There are plenty of ways to purify water, a common method (displayed) is a water filter made from pebbles, sand, cloth and charcoal.

7. Water Storage: The most important thing to remember about water collecting, purifying and storage is that you’ll only last 100 hours in average temperatures without water. An obvious survival priority.

8. Bug Out Ready: The effectiveness of bugging out is debated. However, it’s important to have a shelter that can withstand collapse.

9. Shelter Building: From round lodges to tarp shelters, shelter construction will protect you from the elements, preserving your energy and mental awareness.

10. Marksmanship: Accurately firing a weapon will help you take down food and can help you defend yourself and family. Being skilled with crossbows, compound bows and other weapons is a plus.

11. Weapon Maintenance: Cleaning the firearm thoroughly and frequently is important. And weapons like AR-15 rifles can be customized with different parts and accessories for hunting and protection purposes in survival situations.

12. Communication Methods: Cellphones could quickly become void in a survival situation. Understand technology and certain radios that will work under any condition.

13. Group Cohesion: The jerk test. Coexisting with others is the only way to survive for an extended duration.

Take a look through this infographic and let us know what you would add.

SurvivalSkills_infographics-with_logo

 

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Could the Survival Bike be your Bug Out Vehicle of Choice?http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/14/the-survival-bike-your-bug-out-vehicle-of-choice/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/14/the-survival-bike-your-bug-out-vehicle-of-choice/#comments Wed, 14 Jan 2015 19:56:06 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=12734 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

I was casually strolling around the internet today as most of us do at some point in time, looking for article ideas for the Prepper Journal. I do this whenever I don’t have something pushing into my thoughts as readily as I hope and it happens occasionally when writer’s block hits me. I was lucky […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

I was casually strolling around the internet today as most of us do at some point in time, looking for article ideas for the Prepper Journal. I do this whenever I don’t have something pushing into my thoughts as readily as I hope and it happens occasionally when writer’s block hits me. I was lucky enough to stumble on something that many of you, myself included might not have seen yet, but that could be an excellent bug out vehicle option in the right circumstances.

Introducing the Survival Bike.

What is the Survival Bike? Is it just a souped up Mountain Bike that has been painted OD green? No, the Survival Bike from MotoPed is actually a Moped. Remember when mopeds were all the rage for people who had too much money for a bike and didn’t really want to pedal? I thought they were a thing of the past replaced by the obnoxious scooters that I see more and more everywhere. The scooters are not obnoxious because I am against saving gas or anything like that; I would just like them to keep up with the flow of traffic. There are few things less annoying that getting behind some 300 pound guy on the back of a dinky scooter going up a hill with his Hitler helmet on. But I digress…

The Survival bike has a motor attached to a really beefy bicycle. You can pedal just like a regular bike, or you can use one of two options of engine to power you along at a top speed of 24 MPH. That sure beats the heck out of walking if you are forced to bug out and with the two included RotopaX 1 Gallon fuel tanks, your range is potentially 400 to 500 miles according to the MotoPed site.

The rear deck has a mounting rack that will hold up to 50 lbs and while that isn’t going to be enough to pack your entire house of survival supplies, it could take a nicely equipped bug out bag or a small child.

Is a Survival Bike a good option for bugging out?

I recently wrote a post that received a lot of interest in the comments section called “10 reasons why you do not want to bug out” where I basically said that for most scenarios, most people would be better off staying at home as opposed to bugging out. I also said that the circumstances of your life, the disaster or threat you are facing and your personal situation would dictate whether anything like this was possible. If you found yourself unable to stay in your home shelter, bugging out may become necessary and having a means of transportation, while there are some drawbacks, does have it’s advantages.

For a bug out vehicle, any bicycle type of device would not be my first choice for the following reasons.

  • They provide zero shelter. You can’t sleep in one and there is nothing to protect you from any projectiles.
  • More so than a car, are treacherous in slippery conditions. Would you want to bug out on a bike in the winter with the potential for snow or ice?
  • Minimal cargo capacity. 50 lbs. isn’t anything to sneeze at if you are using this to get to work and back, but doesn’t hold enough to live off for an extended time.
  • Too easily knocked off a bike. All someone needs to do really is to hit you with a big rock or a baseball bat when you motor by and I bet you will lose your balance and fall.

Now, there are some advantages to bikes and I can see conditions where a moped like this would be very useful.

  • Small size allows for great maneuverability. You could potentially weave through stranded cars and make your way out of a jam.
  • Noise Discipline – Unlike a car or a big diesel truck, this Survival Bike could be pedaled and virtually eliminate the very small amount of noise even the efficient Honda motor would be putting off.
  • Off road – Something like this could shine on trails through the woods if you lived somewhere with an expansive trail network, you could easily skirt major metropolitan areas although you would have to be wary of people who planned to bug out to the woods.
Black Ops from MotoPed comes with survival gear, including crossbow, already loaded.

Black Ops from MotoPed comes with survival gear, including crossbow, already loaded.

I think the concept is brilliant and they even have an upcoming Black Ops model (pictured above) that adds a lot of the gear you are looking for to the package, including a crossbow, which is in keeping with the stealth theme. Is something like the Survival Bike right for you? With a price tag of $3,349 + $325 for shipping, it isn’t for me. What do you think?

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The Case for Homesteadinghttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/13/case-homesteading/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/13/case-homesteading/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 14:37:55 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=12713 Written by Matt Sevald on The Prepper Journal.

Editors Note: The following guest article has been generously contributed by Matt Sevald. Recently, Pat Henry wrote more thought-provoking articles concerning the motivations of preppers wishing for an aptly named “reset” event. He rightly addressed their desire for no one to be harmed as well as their desire to (re)discover more meaning in their lives, […]

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Written by Matt Sevald on The Prepper Journal.

Editors Note: The following guest article has been generously contributed by Matt Sevald.

Recently, Pat Henry wrote more thought-provoking articles concerning the motivations of preppers wishing for an aptly named “reset” event. He rightly addressed their desire for no one to be harmed as well as their desire to (re)discover more meaning in their lives, while not glossing over the harsh realities of life off the grid. As I’ve told him before, I have noticed a pattern of his articles specifically targeting thoughts bouncing around in my head so often I believe it is more by Design than it is fortuitous, and so it is with this subject. I too am one who yearns for a reset event without calamitous upheaval. But why and is there another way?

Preppers stockpile water, food, security, and health care items for TEOTWAKI or even a lesser SHTF event. This is wise, but it does nothing to address the angst in the hearts of those seeking meaning in their lives. The argument could be made the meaning preppers are searching for is the ability to satisfactorily provide for their families, to which I say is only one side of the coin for people such as myself. What’s missing is a sense of genuine accomplishment in day-to-day living – a sense what I do matters in the grand scheme of things. This is not ego in a grandiose way such as building the pyramids or being wealthy or famous; rather I have been a productive human being, have not squandered my time here, and have improved the lives of those around me. I seek to feel and to be useful and to be in charge of my own life by living deliberately.

 

(Originally in this part of the article I wrote about 800 words detailing my disdain for the rat race aspect of my job, my frustration with the economy, and my revulsion towards the decay of American society and government overreach [reasons to wish for societal reset] but no matter how I edited it I sounded like a whiny Communist angry at “the man”. My thoughts are much more complex, but suffice to say, I hate the way our country has made it quite difficult for a person to be his own master. I have thus omitted it in order to better focus on the benefits of homesteading.)

Above I cited the Wikipedia reference for Walden by Henry David Thoreau which also succinctly summarizes the chapter “Baker Farm” thusly:

While on an afternoon ramble in the woods, Thoreau gets caught in a rainstorm and takes shelter in the dirty, dismal hut of John Field, a penniless but hard-working Irish farmhand, and his wife and children. Thoreau urges Field to live a simple but independent and fulfilling life in the woods, thereby freeing himself of employers and creditors. But the Irishman won’t give up his aspirations of luxury and the quest for the American dream.

I agree with Thoreau and see most of us as John Field caught in the rat race because we’ve been promised that piece of cheese. I would choose to do with less if I could start over; yes, I would choose to work smarter, not harder. As I have entered my thirties I have realized what key element is missing from my life: the lack of real, tangible freedom to be my own master. You see, the regular work-a-day world is like slot cars. You keep going, don’t rock the boat, and eventually you’ll reach the end. SOSDD as we used to say in the military. We’re pretty much expected to toil away to make other people rich (help them fulfill their dreams) while they toss us paltry wages to keep us appeased. If you can save enough from the tax man to eke out a little fun here and there, the tax man will be sure to reap the remainder from your heirs when you die.

GardenSigns

I don’t believe this is the way we’re supposed to live for several reasons. First and foremost as a Christian, I believe the Bible shows us God’s intended plan: “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return” Gen. 3:19. I believe this means we’re supposed to physically toil for our daily bread. Does your job require toiling? If it doesn’t, I bet you have a desk job like mine – one which is entirely unhealthy and killing us as we spend 1/3 of each day doing it. We abuse caffeine, get bathed in electromagnetic fields, sit, snack mindlessly, stare at computer screens (I have five), take work home / don’t leave work at work, use mobile devices, and wear ear buds (a double whammy). I don’t believe God intends for us to get cancer from the work which He commanded us to do, yet I can sure believe it’s a consequence for us deciding yet again to do things our own (“easier”) way.

Secondly, even if there is no God or no mandate to till the earth, our western way of life is not sustainable. Most preppers acknowledge this and see a complete collapse as a real possibility because of it. Going back to the articles which inspired me to write this one the discussion of “bug-in vs. bug-out” was breached and I’m throwing my hat into the ring on behalf of team homesteading. It’s sort of the best of both worlds in that: a) it’s your home so you don’t have to go anywhere unless under direct threat because; b) you’re probably somewhat removed from urban centers right from the get-go.

My third consideration is both providing for my family and for my own personal fulfillment as a human being – not ego, mind you, but the peace one finds in doing what he knows is right and good in life. Living the homestead life is work. Not work like you go to work, living is your work. You work all day from sun up to sun down so that you can eat for that day or the next. I’m not talking about hand-to-mouth, per se, but there’s not much room for error unless you’ve got a good root cellar full of wonderful meat and vegetables you’ve canned after you hunted, fished, or farmed. One might ask what’s so fulfilling about that, to which I say if I am going to work all day it might as well be for my family’s direct benefit, rather than to help someone else attain their dream in exchange for after-tax fiat currency.

RaisingChickens

It is for these reasons that I see homesteading as a viable method to rediscover purpose without a massive die-off related to a reset event. I’m also not talking about going back to the middle ages (though I do have a great desire to do so myself and would in a heartbeat via living history museum if I could). I’m not above using a gas chainsaw over an axe. Modern amenities can make life easier and even speed your progress towards your prepping goals. Three years ago I caught a stomach bug and was out of commission for three days. After unrelenting bouts of nausea, vomiting, dizziness, sweating, fever, and all the other pleasantries I wanted to do nothing else but die. I had the conveniences of modern hydration, medicine, a warm and safe place to sleep, television and a loving wife who nursed me with all the kindness of an annoyed porcupine, but I was ready to end it all to escape the misery. I don’t want to be without modern medicine and have to cauterize a wound with a red hot knife, a biting stick, and some whiskey. But what I wouldn’t mind is knowing how to sew up a small wound and have the peace of mind that I could do those things if I really had to – whether to save my own life or that of someone in my family.

Many TV shows show us (often contrived) homesteading scenarios. One of the better ones, in my opinion, is Alaska: The Last Frontier. It follows the 2nd – 4th generations of the Kilcher family on their land in Alaska. What I like about this show is the constant work the families are shown doing from mucking chicken coops, to thawing frozen tundra to dig a new outhouse hole in the middle of winter because they slacked in the summer, to smoking fish, to making soap. Yes, it’s TV and designed to entertain, but there is truth shown here ready to be gleaned by the keen observer. I don’t think I’m ready to jump on the rewilding bandwagon just yet, but even they can teach us something.

What are your thoughts on homesteading? Is it realistic? More hype than substance? Are you too late in the game to attempt it?

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Establishing Roadblocks to Control Post-Disaster Travelhttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/12/establishing-roadblocks-control-post-disaster-travel/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/12/establishing-roadblocks-control-post-disaster-travel/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 17:30:21 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=12699 Written by Richard Bryant on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This article was generously donated by frequent contributor, Rich Bryant. Rich discusses security topics that could need to be employed by preppers in a TEOTWAWKI scenario if controlling access to your location is warranted for security and safety in a world where the traditional authorities are no longer able. This article compliments our […]

The post Establishing Roadblocks to Control Post-Disaster Travel appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

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Written by Richard Bryant on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This article was generously donated by frequent contributor, Rich Bryant. Rich discusses security topics that could need to be employed by preppers in a TEOTWAWKI scenario if controlling access to your location is warranted for security and safety in a world where the traditional authorities are no longer able. This article compliments our series on Thinking of your neighborhood from a tactical perspective and offers plenty of common sense tips for establishing roadblocks should they become necessary in your neighborhood or retreat location. You can also read other articles from Rich on the Prepper Journal.

Introduction

If you happen to have worked on a military base in the past, I’m sure you’ve encountered guards standing at the guardhouse routinely waving traffic through the gate – maybe stopping the occasional vehicle to ask a question or two before waving them through. Such a relaxed approach may be adequate during peacetime, however post-disaster these procedures will be wholly inadequate. This article will describe how small communities can establish and manage effective post-disaster roadblocks.

With the recent unrest in Ferguson, MO we’ve actually had a rather ugly preview of coming attractions regarding the need to control and monitor the movement of people. The image of a large gang of criminals, intent on looting, migrating to a neighboring community and shooting their way into a locked store, is an image that should be forever branded into the consciousness of every prepper. This is precisely the reason that the movement of people will need to be controlled, and it’s going to require more than a smiling face and a wave of the hand.

In the wake of a major disaster, those living in small to mid-sized communities will be faced with the challenge of quickly reorganizing to cope with new and immediate concerns. One critical need will be to “control the perimeter”, which will involve establishing security checkpoints to control and monitor comings and goings. Without such controls the risk of disease and lawlessness could threaten the community’s very existence.

While, at first blush, it may seem trivial to set up a roadblock (“Hey, you two guys go down the road and check anybody passing through town!”), during times of disaster an effective roadblock requires more serious consideration.

Selecting Locations for Roadblocks

As with many aspects of life, when establishing a roadblock “location is everything”, and factors that should help to identify the best location for a roadblock include distance from population centers, availability of sufficient space to meet the roadblock’s missions, ability to be defended and potential for line-of-sight communications.

Ideally a roadblock should be a minimum of 0.75 miles (1.2 kilometers) from any dense population centers. This distance corresponds roughly to the range of a high-powered rifle. In other words, a defensive perimeter is much less useful to a community if an adversary can effectively shoot at members of the community from outside the defended perimeter (a roadblock should, if possible, be that distance from any location where a member of the community lives or works).

Military snipers have been known to, on rare occasions, hit targets at distances approaching 1.5 miles. Obviously a bit larger safe zone should be considered if one anticipates adversaries having military sniper training.

Roadblocks are staffed by people, and in the long term people require supporting infrastructure. Such infrastructure potentially includes provisions for the sanitary elimination of human waste, protection from the weather, storage of supplies and space to be used to detain travelers without blocking traffic. Any location considered for a permanent or long-term roadblock should address these real-world needs.

The security of those staffing a roadblock should be a primary concern when selecting its location. It is inevitable that there will eventually be security incidents at any roadblock, and the personnel there should be able to ward off any anticipated attack until reinforcements can arrive. The availability of hard and soft cover should be considered, as well as local geography (with regard to both offense and defense). In some situations it may be important to have a concealed shooting position located nearby to provide supporting fire in the event of the most serious situations.

Yet another important factor to consider when selecting the location of a roadblock is the availability of line-of-sight communication to the community. This can be important in case other more conventional means of communication become unavailable. For example, flags might be flown to request reinforcements or to visually indicate other abnormal situations. In some cases it may be necessary for a central headquarters within the community to have a line-of-sight to the roadblock, while in other cases it may be sufficient for the roadblock to be within sight of any population center (from which communication might be relayed to the central headquarters).

In addition to the factors already mentioned, a roadblock should be established at a location that is a natural traffic bottleneck. Otherwise it is possible that intruders could simply bypass the roadblock.

Sandbags are an often over-looked prepper supply that can make very effective cover for fighting positions. Just add hard work.

Sandbags are an often over-looked prepper supply that can make very effective cover for fighting positions. Just add hard work.

Facility and Equipment

Without certain basic features necessary to meet the needs of those who will be staffing it, the ability of a permanent or long-term roadblock to accomplish its mission will be significantly degraded. The roadblock station should feature:

  • A latrine or other means of eliminating human waste in a sanitary fashion
  • A source of clean water
  • A structure that provides protection from the weather
  • A flagpole (and various colored flags) for backup visual communication
  • A siren or other device for producing a loud and distinctive audible alert
  • A lockable storage bin that is protected from the weather
  • Sandbags or some other form of hard cover
  • Nearby access to places of concealment
  • A movable barrier to control the flow of traffic
  • A radio or other device for security-related communications
  • Chairs
  • A temporary parking area where one or more vehicles may be detained without blocking other traffic
  • Signs posted at appropriate locations to provide instructions and cautions to approaching travelers

Flags of various colors should be available to, at a minimum, signify abnormal security conditions (perhaps yellow and red), requests for unscheduled personnel rotation and requests for medical assistance.

In addition to the equipment listed above, those who staff the roadblock (and anyone providing them covering fire) should carry weapons that are appropriate to their role. Holstered handguns, along with spare magazines and a good supply of ammunition, are probably a best fit for those staffing the roadblock; with a rifle close at hand in the guard shack. The advantage of holstered handguns is that they leave hands free for signaling and conducting searches.

Communications

Good communications, both among the personnel staffing a roadblock and between the roadblock and other security personnel within the community, is vitally important. Efficient non-verbal communications between the personnel staffing the roadblock can be quite useful. For example, hand signals might be used to guide traffic or to quickly and silently communicate ‘caution’ or ‘danger’ to other personnel staffing the roadblock. They might also be useful in communicating with any concealed locations that are tasked with providing covering fire during times of heightened security.

Radio or other forms of electronic communication between the roadblock, a central headquarters and/or other roadblocks or other security personnel can obviously also fill a vital role. If non-secure radio communications are utilized then standard code words (similar to the ’10 codes’ used today by law enforcement personnel) should be employed to augment communications security (‘COMSEC’).

TA-312 field phones can still be purchased in surplus stores.

TA-312 field phones can still be purchased in surplus stores.

An alternative to radio communications is the use of military grade ‘field telephones’. Such phones provide the advantage of increased COMSEC. Military-model phones worth consideration are the TA-1, the EE-8 and the TA-312 field telephones, which have been used by the US military throughout the twentieth century. The TA-1 offers a range of up to four miles and requires no power source (it is voice-powered). The EE-8 offers a range of up to 17 miles, but requires batteries. The TA-312 has a range of up to twenty-two miles under dry conditions, and features a built-in hand generator so that batteries are not necessary for operation.

Small military switchboard devices can be installed at the central headquarters to enable point-to-point telephone communications between multiple locations. There would also be a need to obtain sufficient lengths of telephone wire to interconnect the desired stations.

As has already been mentioned, flags and sirens can fill an important role by providing a means of communicating certainly critical conditions to the entire community.

Staffing

It is typical to have a roadblock staffed by a minimum of three individuals; two members of the team typically process foot traffic and vehicles through the roadblock in accordance with standing orders, while the third oversees the operation from the guard shack and is ready to react appropriately if an incident develops. Occasionally the duties associated with manning the roadblock can be physically demanding (for example, if the station comes under attack), so it is important that all team members be physically fit.

Under normal circumstances teams should work in shifts and rotate on and off the roadblock in accordance with a pre-established schedule. As already suggested, in times of heightened alert it may also be prudent to employ a concealed sniper to provide support on an as-needed basis.

Using Roadblocks to Gather Intelligence

Roadblocks can be excellent (and cost-effective) sources of critical intelligence information about potential future security threats to the community. Question and answer sessions conducted with passers-by can provide a wealth of information which can often be corroborated by multiple independent observers. When collecting information from travelers about potential adversaries they may have observed, the following ‘SALUTE’ questions should be remembered:

  • S)ize of potential adversaries
  • A)ctivity a potential adversary was observed being engaged in
  • L)ocation of potantial adversaries
  • U)nit Types Capabilities of potential adversaries
  • T)ime the potential adversary was observed
  • E)quipment possessed by a potential adversary

Policies and Procedures Governing Roadblocks

The individuals manning a community roadblock should be governed by policies and procedures in addition to and standing orders. Policies governing a roadblock should include:

  • If possible the personnel staffing the roadblock should wear common uniforms or otherwise present themselves to travelers as members of a disciplined and professional unit.
  • To the greatest extent possible, roadblock personnel should maintain detailed notes of all incoming and outgoing traffic, including answers to the ‘SALUTE’ questions described above as appropriate.
  • The maximum number of consecutive hours that individuals should attend a roadblock without being relieved.
  • Identification of different classes of travelers (e.g. community members, vs. known locals vs. unknown personnel)
  • Standard operating procedures for handling each class of traveler.
  • Policies regarding personnel taking necessary breaks during their work shift.
  • Regularly-scheduled check-ins with the central headquarters.
  • The use of special signs or signals for identification purposes.
  • The procedure for evacuating the roadblock in the event that it is overrun (including the destruction of sensitive materials and equipment)
  • Criteria for pursuing vehicles that attempt to flee the roadblock

Conclusion

The use of roadblocks to control and monitor the flow of inbound and outbound traffic (foot traffic and otherwise) is important to the community from many perspectives. In addition to strengthening the defense of the community, it can be a valuable source of strategic intelligence. The presence of roadblocks also increases the community’s sense of security and well-being, which can itself translate into increased productivity and economic activity.

To paraphrase the great poet Robert Frost who once proclaimed that “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors” it can be said that “Good Roadblocks Make For Secure Survival Communities”.

Somehow my version just doesn’t seem as poetic!

 

About the Author: Richard Bryant is author of the preparedness book “When There is No FEMA – Survival for Normal People in (Very) Abnormal Times” and a long-time preparedness group organizer in Central Florida. He has recently relocated permanently to his disaster retreat in rural West Tennessee. The first 60 pages of his book are available for review and download at http://nofema.com.

 

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10 Reasons Why You Do Not Want to Bug Outhttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/10/10-reasons-not-want-bug/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/10/10-reasons-not-want-bug/#comments Sat, 10 Jan 2015 11:00:02 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=12678 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

The plan seems simple doesn’t it? All you need for the best chance of survival for your family is a well-stocked bug out bag, a keen attention to your surroundings and careful monitoring of what is happening in the news. With these bases covered you will be a very informed prepper and will be able […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

The plan seems simple doesn’t it? All you need for the best chance of survival for your family is a well-stocked bug out bag, a keen attention to your surroundings and careful monitoring of what is happening in the news. With these bases covered you will be a very informed prepper and will be able to get the jump on all of the clueless sheeple if something bad happens. You will load your family up with your bags and hike off into the sunset way ahead of the approaching death and destruction. You have a plan to bug out.

It sounds perfect, but in this article I am going to try and convince you how that might not be the best and first option you should consider. There are many reasons and situations I can think of why you do not want to bug out from your home. You may be asking yourself, how can I even say those words on a prepper blog such as this without getting struck by lightning? It’s true that hunkering down is not the option that gets the most press, but in my opinion during most (but not all) scenarios, it is the better choice. That is unless you are a combat trained Navy Seal. If you are like me, just an average guy with a family and a giant subterranean monster unleashed by nuclear experiments is not headed your way, you might want to stay put. Here are a few reasons why:

You live where your stuff is.

I’ll be the first to admit that a lot of these reasons are going to seem incredibly simple and obvious, but I think sometimes that is the best way to approach a problem. As a prepper you have probably started collecting some supplies to help you get through short and long term emergencies. Some of you have stored a TON of supplies because you have been doing this for a long time or else you are independently wealthy and you just blew up the Black Friday sales.

Even if you only have a week’s worth of food and water, that is nothing to sneeze at. Everything you have is stored probably in nicely organized bins for easy retrieval. You don’t have to carry it and the supplies aren’t subject to the elements. Leaving your home will make you potentially have to leave most, or all of your survival supplies at home. You could put them all in your best bug out vehicle, the diesel Ford F-250 with the trailer, right? Sure you could, but are you sure that truck will always be in your possession? It’s just better to stay at your home base because there are tons of advantages like…

Even your kitchen floor is more comfortable than sleeping in the woods

Some parts of Mother Nature are best appreciated when you can leave.

Some parts of Mother Nature are best appreciated when you can leave.

Yes, I know that some people sleep perfectly well in the woods and I can too, once I am exhausted from hiking all day. Honestly, you would have to agree that your old lumpy Serta Posturpedic mattress would be preferable to sleeping in the woods or an abandoned building or even a hammock. Why is that important?

Getting plenty of good sleep has a huge impact on our health. It not only affects your moods, but alertness and even immune system. In a disaster you will be stressed in ways you haven’t even considered. You may be working like a dog and having a comfortable and relatively safe place to rest your head, even if that is the living room floor will be an advantage that the people who think they can just bug out into the woods won’t have.

Built in Community whether you know it or not

In times of crisis, you can almost guarantee that communities will band together in some ways. You probably don’t consider your small neighborhood or dead end street a community but let some disaster happen and you will see humans come together for support, safety and to help each-other out. Being around even just a few neighbors who know you can give you advantages if you need assistance for things like a neighborhood security plan.

Even neighbors you don’t get along with will probably overcome grudges if the disaster is severe enough. Of course there is the potential that your neighbors could turn on you for being the lone prepper but I think in most cases, things won’t go Mad Max for a little while. If it does you will have to adjust, but I believe that most people would benefit by banding with their neighbors for support. You could have an opportunity for leadership here or compassion by helping out others who haven’t prepared. It is much better to strive for this kind of relationship with people than head out the door and face the world with only what is on your back.

Being Cold Sucks and it can kill you

I bet that most of you like to keep the thermostat somewhere in the upper 60’s to low 70’s during the winter. There might be some play in that range, but there are no thermostats outside. Whatever the temperature is outdoors is what you are going to be living with. Can you start a fire or wear warm layers to regulate your body temperature? Of course, but the last place I want to be on a cold winter night is huddled up in my sleeping bag under a tarp even if I did have a nice roasting fire beside me.

There are some situations where you wouldn’t be able to start a fire. Maybe if it was raining and you couldn’t find any dry wood or tinder, or there were people that didn’t look so friendly following you. Staying in your home, even without power can give you advantages of shelter that you won’t easily find outdoors. You can seal off rooms and even your body heat will generate a little warmth. You can black out your curtains with heavy gauge plastic sheeting and even the heat from a lantern or a couple of candles can put out an amazing amount of heat.

You may put yourself in a worse situation

The problem with most bug out plans are that you don’t have a destination. Where are you bugging out to? Do you think the National Forest is going to be reserved solely for you and your family? Do you think you will just set up a tent and start hunting for small game? In a large regional disaster, there could be millions of people leaving the cities. The concept is called the Golden Horde and they will be competing with you for natural resources. With even a few dozen hunters in the same area game will be depleted in days if not sooner. Then you will be stuck near a bunch of other hungry people who blame you for catching the last squirrel.

Being on the road makes you an easier target

One of the advantages of staying put at home is the home field or defenders advantage. When you go out, you do not know what you are walking or driving into. The best you can do is recon very deliberately which will only slow you down more. By staying put in your home, you can set up a neighborhood watch with your fellow neighbors and monitor who is coming in. This gives you the opportunity to set up defensive positions and plans that anyone walking in with thoughts of taking advantage of you, won’t be aware of.

If nobody knows you, you are a stranger

If the people in the town do not know you, they will treat you as suspicious, maybe even hostile.

If the people in the town do not know you, they will treat you as suspicious, maybe even hostile.

Have you ever been walking your dog and seen someone strange walking through your neighborhood? This was someone you didn’t know so obviously they fell under suspicion. Had they been one of your neighbors kids you would have recognized them, but this new person stuck out. That is what you will be faced with if you leave your home and go wandering through other towns and cities. In your home neighborhood you will be dealing with known people that you can grow a deeper relationship with. There is a built-in level of trust because they have lived near you for years. If you start walking into a strange town with your bug out bags and AR-15 slung over your bulletproof vest, you may not like the attention you receive.

Gear is heavy and a lot of gear is heavier.

Speaking of walking around in your bulletproof vest and gear, how many of you have walked for 3 days with your bug out bag? OK, now add a full complement of bullets and anything else you think you might need to defend yourself. It adds up quickly even when you try to reduce the weight of your bug out bag as much as possible. These weren’t meant to live for a long time out of. Your food will run out, possibly your ammo and that will help you with the weight, but in a disaster where you are walking out the door in full combat gear, do you think Walmart will be open when you run out of something?

In a grid down you won’t get to call AAA

Maybe you are one of the lucky ones that have a place to go up in the mountains. If you don’t get out before everyone else starts leaving, you could be stuck on the road. What if your old bug out vehicle breaks down? All those supplies you stored in the back of that trailer are either going to feed a lot of other people on the highway or you will most likely die defending them. If you aren’t already living at your retreat before the disaster happens, you will have to be incredibly fast to avoid getting stranded. Let’s say you are ready to go, do you know when you would actually leave? Do you know when the S has actually HTF and it’s time to leave or will you debate leaving with your wife and mother for two days because they think it will all blow over soon?

Leaving home may put you in a worst situation than staying put.

Leaving home may put you in a worst situation than staying put.

If you get hurt you want to be near a secure shelter not under a tarp

I have a decent first aid supply kit. I don’t have IV’s and a ton of medicine but I can take care of garden variety injuries pretty well. Imagine you somehow break your leg after the grid is down. Would you rather drag yourself into the house, or be stuck in the woods for weeks unable to move? Most hospitals don’t stick their patients out in the back yard for a reason so you will convalesce better with a good roof over your head that is hopefully providing some climate protections. If nothing else, it will be a relatively clean and safe place to get better that beats lying under a log.

So what does staying home mean?

I will write a post about reasons why you may have to bug out later, but staying home doesn’t guarantee you will be safe and secure either. I think each situation has to be taken into consideration as to what is the better option for you and your family. Naturally if there is a fire heading your way staying at home is stupid. It is something to think about that and that may help you begin to form different plans for different scenarios. What are your plans?

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Will Paris Attacks Renew Call to Ban Guns?http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/09/will-paris-attacks-renew-call-ban-guns/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/09/will-paris-attacks-renew-call-ban-guns/#comments Fri, 09 Jan 2015 11:00:07 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=12662 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

The news this week of the terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 12 people left me with a few different emotions and thoughts. On one hand I felt a sense of loss for the families and victims who appear to have been murdered over what was essentially a joke. On the other, I was silently […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

The news this week of the terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 12 people left me with a few different emotions and thoughts. On one hand I felt a sense of loss for the families and victims who appear to have been murdered over what was essentially a joke. On the other, I was silently thankful this attack was far away from anyone I know or care about personally and that absent my shared grief for other innocent humans, I had not been affected in any real sense.

The current working rationale given for this tragedy appears to be terrorism, but in my mind it wouldn’t matter if this was a bizarre love triangle that went south or a mentally defective Kim Kardashian fan who was upset over a social media post denigrating the object of his obsession. The facts are that someone took lives and to get caught up on the reasoning is a waste of time. There is evil in this world and evil will do evil things when it can.

Whatever the reason; anytime there is a shooting of innocent people, as long as that shooting is not gang or crime related, (or in Chicago apparently) it makes news. Because this is an apparent terrorist attack, it deserves a different kind of attention but at the same time will undoubtedly be used by some as another opportunity to say that guns are bad and should be taken away from law-abiding citizens. Mass shooting events, more so than any other statistics seems to drive this conversation and I suppose the total loss of life at one time is viewed as more tragic and who could really argue with that?

The arguments for and against guns are legion especially in our country and I don’t see them ending anytime soon, but for me at least; getting caught up in statistics is a foolish way to settle this debate. I am not anti-science or anything, but statistics can be and are frequently total crap. It is how one person is viewing, interpreting and massaging the numbers. Mark Twain said it best, “there are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics.” You can take statistics that are pro-gun that show that violent crime rates have been dropping and some attribute this to more personal ownership of firearms.

You can't make laws that criminals will obey.

You can’t make laws that criminals will obey.

According to the FBI:

In 2013, the estimated number of murders in the nation was 14,196. This was a 4.4 percent decrease from the 2012 estimate, a 7.8 percent decrease from the 2009 figure, and a 12.1 percent drop from the number in 2004

On the flip side you can get statistics from anti-gun people that say violent crime is increasing now for the first time since 2006. Which statistic is right? The one you want to believe is always going to be the right statistic. But to use these particular statistics you have to willfully ignore other statistics like:

Leading Causes of Non-Violent Death

  • Heart disease: 596,577
  • Cancer: 576,691
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 142,943
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 128,932
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 126,438
  • Alzheimer’s disease: 84,974
  • Diabetes: 73,831
  • Influenza and Pneumonia: 53,826
  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 45,591
  • Intentional self-harm (suicide): 39,518

But even looking back at non-health related deaths:

  • Unintentional Poisoning: 36,332
  • Motor Vehicle: 34,935
  • Unintentional Falls: 28,753

Looking at these statistics makes me think that we should really be focusing on so many other things if you are really concerned with saving lives. In my opinion, quoting statistics misses the entire point of the larger gun argument though and for me it doesn’t come down primarily to the Second Amendment although I fully support and believe in that right. No, for me it is a matter of what I believe to be simple common sense. If a bad guy has a gun and is trying to shoot me, I want to have the opportunity to defend myself with the same ability. I don’t care if crime is going down or going up. I still reserve the right to defend my life and yes by the way, the Constitution was written to affirm that right.

Guns only belong in the hands of trained soldiers or law enforcement

But you can’t argue with the idea that guns only belong in the hands of highly qualified and trained individuals like police and soldiers can you? A normal civilian has no need to own firearms and keep them in their home. Why, they could go crazy and kill someone!

People do go crazy all the time and others don’t go crazy at all but commit atrocities just the same. Why are police and soldiers perceived as more entitled to defending their own lives or the lives of others? What about ex-police or veterans? Are they OK to carry firearms since they have had the training? What about civilians that have had extensive firearms training?

Just because you have a job that requires you to carry a firearm that does not make you any more special or more qualified than anyone else. Police officers have committed crimes and yes, even shot people illegally. Veterans and even active duty soldiers have done the same in some instances, but so have Judges, Doctors, and Professors. Your job doesn’t guarantee you are a better or more stable person.

If we take guns away from everyone, the world will be a safer place

The thing about this argument that kills me is that criminals have always gotten their hands on guns but we assume that simply having a gun legally will make you engage in criminal behavior. Why do people believe that if we make everyone simply turn their guns in that the criminals will listen and obey? We already have laws on the books that criminals break every single day and yet you expect that because we make another law, they will finally listen?

The only people who would turn their guns in are the people who actually obey the law. These are the very people who need protection from the ones who do not obey the law.

I hope you shoot yourself with your gun!

I actually had someone say this to me in the comments and for the life of me I can’t understand it. If you don’t believe in gun violence, why are you wishing for my death? I have never heard a pro-gun person say to anyone that wants to take guns away, “I hope you die”! Of course that is possible I guess, but completely irrational.

I don’t want anyone to die. I only want the same ability to defend my life as anyone else has. I don’t want any more limits or rules on what I can do unless I break the law. If I break the law, then I should be tried and if found guilty, face the consequences. It’s called Due Process. If I haven’t broken any laws, why are you restricting my rights but more importantly, why are you hoping a perfectly law abiding citizen dies?

You can’t make evil people stop being evil

Finally, I guess my overarching point is that there will always be evil in the world. There will be people who believe they are righteously killing in the name of their religion. There will be people who are crazy, there will be gangs, there will be drug addicts, and there will be rapists and pedophiles, serial killers and burglars. Let’s deal with all of them first and maybe we can talk about guns then. If you can’t get rid of evil, I don’t want you getting rid of my right to defend myself from it.

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Preppers: Be Careful What you Wish forhttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/08/preppers-careful-wish/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/08/preppers-careful-wish/#comments Thu, 08 Jan 2015 11:00:42 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=12643 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

“Let it all burn to the ground! I’ll be up in the hills with my survival group, two years’ worth of food and a ton of supplies. You can stay here and die. In fact, I hope you all die so I can walk back down here when you are dead and take all of […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

“Let it all burn to the ground! I’ll be up in the hills with my survival group, two years’ worth of food and a ton of supplies. You can stay here and die. In fact, I hope you all die so I can walk back down here when you are dead and take all of your stuff that you were too stupid to protect.”

Have you ever heard someone talk like that about the end of the world as we know it? I have many times. It is usually on survival forum posts or in the comments of prepper blogs that we hear this vitriol spewed from people who seem to eagerly anticipate a horrible SHTF event. I can’t even grasp the stupidity of comments like that and have to believe that anyone who says anything remotely similar is suffering from a serious lack of intelligence, maturity or both.

How could anyone in their right mind want chaos and anarchy? Who would wish destruction on our entire civilization?

There is another side to this topic though and that is a connected, but slightly different yearning I believe on the part of some preppers, who secretly hope in some small way for TEOTWAWKI in their lives also. This desire isn’t to see anyone harmed although they are probably aware this possibility must come with the territory. It is also not to take advantage of anyone like the comment above. Some preppers might be looking forward to “the big reset” caused by some global catastrophe, not because they are anarchists who want destruction, but are instead searching for something more personal and intimate to the human experience.

I believe that some people are secretly OK with the prospect of TEOTWAWKI because of how our society has become pathetic on some fronts, due to technological advances and nanny state bureaucracies. With all the advancements of science and industry, we have forgotten some of our native abilities and our lives are devoid of the challenges that strengthened and tested our forefathers. When the biggest fear is losing electricity, what has our life as human beings become? When everyone gets a trophy just for showing up, what is the point of striving in the contest of life? If your social life is plunged into a panic due to a brief outage on Facebook, how meaningful is that life? If even sledding must be banned due to the fear of lawsuits, how screwed up are our priorities? If the only answer to getting what you want is to riot, protest or a court battle, how weak have we become as a species, or perhaps more accurately; how much control have we willingly given away?

The Pioneer Spirit is not lost, it is searching for you

This thought has been bouncing around in my brain for some time, but it took another show on NatGeo to bring the concept to the front of my consciousness. I so rarely watch TV and if I do it is almost always National Geographic and that is why so many of my articles feature thoughts gleaned from that network. I do not own stock in them, but I watched the first episode of a show called The Pioneers. This show isn’t radically different from a lot of other reality based shows out there; camera crews follow people carefully selected, no doubt to get along and argue with each other at all the right times, but the premise is “a social experiment that follows four couples for three months as they trade in their 21st-century comforts for covered wagons, campfires, and the harsh reality of life on the American prairie.”

Cast of the Pioneers on National Geographic.

Cast of the Pioneers on National Geographic.

The main motivation for the couples interviewed generally was to get back to the spirit of the pioneers, our ancestors and see if they could complete a wagon voyage across the prairies of America. This would be without any modern conveniences naturally and the only survival tools they are given in the show were common to the 1800’s. In watching that first show I realized that so many of us are yearning for the same type of challenge, but most of us could not and would not appear on any reality show to see how we actually fared. I think that pioneer spirit is in our DNA somehow and our modern society doesn’t give us many chances to exercise this deep down yearning, so that, almost unconscious desire, manifests itself in a tacit longing for a return to a more challenging time.

Sure, you could go off the grid, drop out of society and hike up into the woods but most of us wouldn’t do that willingly unless our lives depended on it and even if we did, the rest of society wouldn’t follow along so it wouldn’t really be the way the pioneers lived life would it? A TEOTWAWKI event would be the great impetus, depending on the disaster, for a mandatory return to a simpler, harsher life. If a great calamity happened, you wouldn’t have to quit your job or turn off your cell phone. You wouldn’t have any choice about growing a garden or trying to repair holes in your jeans. Life would be completely different and you would finally see how you are able to stand up to the challenges of a world that doesn’t come with so many shortcuts.

You don’t have to wait for the end of the world

I can relate to the thoughts I mention above because in some small way I would like to see how I could rise to the challenges faced by our pioneer relatives. I fully understand that life was much harder back then so I don’t want to foolishly wish a return to the 1800’s on any of us, but a big reset would seem to be the quickest, maybe not the least painful way to start over on a lot of things.

If you have similar thoughts there are things you can do now though to try to make sure you are prepared if something happens that does cause us all to lose the modern conveniences that we love and rely on so much to make life easier and more entertaining. You can not only be more prepared, there are ways to test yourself in the process, they just require some effort and planning.

  • Turn off the power – This is the easiest thing you can do to experience a little pain without really sacrificing too much. Just flip the main breaker on Friday night and go all weekend, maybe even a week to see how you handle living without power. How will you cook when the grid is down? What will you do when the lights are out? How will you stay warm or cool?
  • Go hiking for a month – Always wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail? Plan a month-long hiking excursion without the benefit of resupply points along the way. This would be bugging out without the roving bands of looters to worry about.
  • Stop buying anything for a month – Could you go without buying anything for a month? We have plenty of food stored, but still make weekly trips to the grocery store. If you had to go without leaving your house for a month could you do that?
  • Turn off the water – This is much harder than electricity at some points of the year. When you have to haul your water and filter it every time you need it, you will appreciate what those pioneers had to do. You might take fewer showers.
  • Try using the bathroom outside for a week – Nothing says ‘I’m a Pioneer’ like pooping in the woods on a cold dark night. If that isn’t enough for you, lose the toilet paper also.
  • Walk or ride a bike everywhere – The new car you have is not very ‘Pioneer’ is it? Try walking the kids to soccer practice for a week. I bet that traveling league wouldn’t work out so well.

I understand the allure of wanting to be tested – to go back to a world without so much noise, where you have to be self-reliant or else you die, but the downside is we easily forget just how difficult that life was. Sure, an EMP for example could send us back to the 1800’s without killing a lot of people immediately, but there would be a large loss of life as the lack of electricity affected people in so many ways. Many people, maybe your own children or spouse could die from simple infections if they were unable to receive antibiotics. Women would die in greater numbers during childbirth. There wouldn’t be a 911 to call if your house caught fire. Retirement? The only way you would get to retire is when you died.

Living like the Pioneers for us wouldn’t be anything like Little House on the Prairie. Your home town would probably look more like a third world slum for generations. Don’t believe me? Have you seen the garbage that piles up after only 10 days? Do you know anyone with horses? Wood-working tools that don’t require power? Wagons for the horses to pull? Steam locomotives or the knowledge to build any of these things?

We may all get to see what it is like living like the Pioneers one day but if I am being honest, I don’t want to go through that turmoil if I have a choice. I don’t want it for myself or my family or anyone in the world. It is one thing to think about it from my sofa watching a reality TV show drinking a cold adult beverage, but if the 1800’s came knocking on my door I know that eventually, probably faster than I like, I would regret the loss in a very real way. As a prepper I do try to plan for scenarios like this but I always try to remind myself that my preparations are for worst case scenarios and that I would really be much happier if these plans I make never saw the light of day. As a society, I might think we need a big reset, but I for one don’t want to go through the death and destruction to get there. If it happens, I’ll deal with it, but I am not wishing that on anyone.

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Zombies: Separating Fact from Mythhttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/07/zombies-separating-fact-myth/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/07/zombies-separating-fact-myth/#comments Wed, 07 Jan 2015 23:00:52 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=12621 Written by Michael Martin on The Prepper Journal.

Editors Note: The following article was generously donated by Michael Martin and covers a polarizing subject for some of our readers. There are two sides to zombies when it comes to how the threat posed by the undead is seen in the Prepper community. There are some who believe zombies are no more real than […]

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Written by Michael Martin on The Prepper Journal.

Editors Note: The following article was generously donated by Michael Martin and covers a polarizing subject for some of our readers. There are two sides to zombies when it comes to how the threat posed by the undead is seen in the Prepper community. There are some who believe zombies are no more real than Big Foot and think that to worry about a zombie apocalypse, much less entertain the reality of zombies in the first place, is foolish. There are others that genuinely believe in the potential of some form of virus outbreak actually causing the type of zombie behavior we have seen in movies and TV for years. Real or not, convincing you one way or the other isn’t the intent of this post. I think if nothing else, zombies are a metaphor for a lot of potential behavior post-apocalypse.

However, it is worth mentioning that the military has been caught training to mow down “zombies”, the Marines have their own Zombie Deployment Guide and even the CDC has tried using zombies to reach people with the message of preparedness. Have you ever stopped to wonder why we are so inundated with zombie messages in our culture recently? Is all this just having fun with the message or more subtle predictive programing? You be the judge.


Hi there! When we talk about emergency preparedness and survival, most would often think about the zombie apocalypse scenario. It’s probably one of the most entertaining reasons why some choose to prepare and I guess we owe it all to Hollywood for raising this kind of awareness in some way. But are we just crazy to think that a zombie outbreak would somehow happen in the near future? What do we really know about these creatures? Are they for real or just a product of our playful imagination? In this guide, we are going to explore all the things we think we know about zombies. This article is created so we can set apart the fact from the myth and somehow eliminate the idea that zombies are just the same creatures that we often see in movies and nothing more.

So What’s The Real Deal With The Living Dead:

Are zombies for real? Is there a possibility that they might wipe out the entire human population like we usually see in the movies? Let us look into this list and learn the things we really need to know about zombies and make use of the things we learn here to improve our skills in survival preparedness:

You'll know their Zombies by the way they are shuffling towards you.

You’ll know they’re Zombies by the way they are shuffling towards you.

Zombies walk in a lethargic manner

(Fact and Myth) – One of the most common depictions of zombies in the movies is the way they walk. Old Hollywood versions care to show a slower version as these creatures walk sluggishly with their hands raised as they march towards their victim while recent representations tend to show a faster and quicker creature. Most experts agree that this so called ‘zombie walk’ can be a fact and myth at the same time as recently infected humans are perceived to be violent and agile, but will eventually move slowly as their condition continues to deteriorate. As for that raising of hands thing, I guess the directors just add this detail to give a more scary effect as they approach their prey to be eaten.

Zombies attack in groups

(Myth but plausible) – One thing that bothers me whenever I watch zombie movies is the way they attack in groups. How could these creatures immediately develop a collective mind after being infected and how can they organize such an attack if they are not able to establish proper communication? We can see this as a myth in a way, but we can also expect the possibility of organized group assault if this apocalyptic scenario will happen in the near future.

Zombies have a thing for human flesh

(Myth) – While movies often show zombies to have that distinct taste in human meat, the likeliness of an infected human becoming a cannibal is not going to happen immediately. There might be factors to consider such as the mental state of the infected person, the scarcity of survival food supplies (which will force them to cannibalize), and etc. But when you talk of an infected person developing a fetish for human flesh, I think with can disclose this possibility as a myth until further evidence will disprove this claim.

All zombies think about is eating your flesh.

All zombies think about is eating your flesh.

Zombies can still survive after being literally torn apart

(Myth) – Another thing that kinda bothers me is that zombie body parts will keep on attacking even after being dismembered (ex. the hand is still crawling towards the victim). This is absolutely not true since a body part cannot function on its own. It needs the brain to be signaled to move. Movies are just making this up to add an element of suspense to the scene.

Zombies can infect with just a single bite

(Fact) – In some movies, the hero is bitten and it’s only a matter of time for him to turn into one of the creatures he’s running away from. This has a basis in reality as a person who is infected with rabies is known to show a zombie-like behavior. And their bite can also cause others to be contaminated, but not immediately.

Zombies are dead humans who came back to life

(Myth) – While the idea of the zombie came from that popular Haitian folklore, there are actually recent accounts of living people being turned into “zombie slaves” either by a curse or a form of medication. One of these cases can be found in the Philippines where an ethnic group makes a potion derived from local herbs which can turn anyone into a living zombie.

A zombie outbreak can be caused by a single virus

(Fact) – Anthrax is a deadly disease which is commonly associated with the zombie legend as the some symptoms (lesions and skin necrosis) are usually found to that of a typical zombie creature. This disease is highly infectious. Hence, we can also say that anthrax is one of the main causes of a possible zombie outbreak as it has the potential to infect many individuals at an alarming rate especially if you don’t carry a vaccine in your survival kit.

Zombies can multiply in number in a matter of days

(Fact) – In 2009, a brilliant doctor in the name of Robert Smith was able to come up with the zombie outbreak equation. According to his mathematical formula, a city with a population of 500k will be outnumbered by zombies in a matter of three days if an outbreak is already infecting the area. Mathematics is an exact science. And if we are going to base this in his equation, there is a big possibility that living dead creatures can outnumber a big human population within a week.

The government is also into this ‘zombie frenzy’

(Fact) – Well at least not in our own government, as President Vladimir Putin of Russia has commissioned his scientists to work on a zombie gun that would send microwaves to enemies and literally turn them into zombies. This weapon will surely be useful if it’s pointed at the right target.

Zombies are for real

(Maybe) – While our minds are filled with ghastly images of Hollywood zombies, there is one account that tells of a man being resurrected 18 years after his death. Clairvius Narcisse of Haiti claimed he is a zombie and that had died in 1962 but came back to life in 1980. Investigators said that he received a lethal dose of tetrodotoxin (a type of chemical usually derived from puffer fish) which mimicked a death-like state. He was forced to work at a sugar plantation from a time being and simply walked away after his master died.

Conclusion:

Was this article helpful enough to improve your survival preparation? Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

 

About The Author: Michael Martin is a former Navy Pilot who believes no matter the circumstance, one should always be prepared. Upon entering the civilian world, Michael spent his time traveling the globe and observing different cultures. Growing up in as the son of a serial entrepreneur it was only a matter of time before he took his love of the outdoors and passion for helping others to new heights by founding Bug Out Bag Pro. As a survivalist & entrepreneur, his vision is to help educate and prepare families everywhere with the information, skills and tools to survive any situation they may face!

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Guide to Food Storage – 9 Effective Tipshttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/06/guide-food-storage-9-effective-tips/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/06/guide-food-storage-9-effective-tips/#comments Tue, 06 Jan 2015 23:00:16 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=12598 Written by Roger Gallager on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This article has been generously donated by Roger Gallager and discusses one of the most important preparedness items to tackle; food storage. Having a supply of foods for your family to eat when acquiring more might not be possible is one of the first items preppers need to consider when forming their own […]

The post Guide to Food Storage – 9 Effective Tips appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

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Written by Roger Gallager on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This article has been generously donated by Roger Gallager and discusses one of the most important preparedness items to tackle; food storage. Having a supply of foods for your family to eat when acquiring more might not be possible is one of the first items preppers need to consider when forming their own family survival plan. This guide to food storage concepts will help those new to prepping with some ideas to get your own food storage plan started or to realize mistakes that can be corrected now.


When Hurricane Sandy hit the Eastern board of the United States, it left millions of households without power, and most importantly, food. With preparations for the expected power outage, the food outage would not have been a problem even if grocery stores, crops, livestock, and plants had been flooded, all thanks to proper food storage.

Food is essential for survival. Whether it be an earthquake, hurricane, super typhoon, floods, or any natural calamity, you may lose access to water and food supply. As such, most people go for keeping emergency food storage. While for others, storing food is important for small emergencies. The question is, how do you effectively store food? Reports come in with stored food filled with salmonella, E. coli, and other microorganisms, which, instead of saving you, would put you in the hospital. More than keeping the right amount of food, storing them right is crucial. Here is a survival guide to food storage to keep you and your family safe.

1. Know The Right Types Of Food

Know which foods to store and how to store them. Keep your emergency survival food supply varied but make sure to have honey, salt, milk, and wheat in your supply. To encourage variety in your supply, go for other grains, beans, tomatoes, cheese, and even onion. If you are storing foods in jars, make sure that the jars are airtight sealed to avoid the development of bacteria within. Marinated foods should go into the freezer and kept there until used.

 

Photo by Tord Sollie via Flickr

Photo by Tord Sollie via Flickr

The types of food you store could go on and on but what you store is extremely important. Go for non-cook foods that could be served even during a power outage. Have MREs (Meal Ready To Eat) stocked as well as canned goods. Keep spices as well to give flavor to the food you will be preparing in times of emergency.

2…And Consider The Size!

Size matters, and so does the quantity. The volume of food should be enough for you to keep in the storage room. Choose containers that can be easily stacked, avoid transparent containers, and do not forget to put labels on everything. The labels should have the contents of what is inside the container and the date it was processed; including the date it was stored. This way, you would easily know when to use it and when to replace it.

3.Timing Is Everything

Yes, you have to get the emergency survival food supply going but you should not rush into getting this done ASAP. Take the time to learn the basics of food storage and keep it consistent. Start from a small food supply and add items to it slowly. You may start by using your refrigerator as your storage area. Utilize your freezer and learn the canning process to utilize your cupboards as well. If you have learned the proper storage and restocking techniques, this is the key to start working on a larger room for food storage.

 

Photo by Marcin Wichary via Flickr

Photo by Marcin Wichary via Flickr

 

4. Find The Perfect Storage Place

One of the many food storage tips you will hear is finding the perfect storage place. Your storage room should be cool, dry, and well ventilated. If you plan to store dried goods, you have to prioritize the temperature you have in your room to avoid spoilage, which is a waste of money. A cool storage room inhibits the growth of ethylene, a ripening agent, along with other decay producing enzymes. The storage room you choose also dictates the quantity of the emergency food supply you will be able to store. Keep your room small, having too big of a storage room makes it hard to do inventories in. Remember that this is your personal emergency food supply in case of natural disasters so keep it properly stored.

 

Photo by Backdoor Survival via Flickr

Photo by Backdoor Survival via Flickr

5. Restock!

If you have worked on your emergency food supply, you should know that these would only last for a couple of months up to a year. Create a regular rotation to replace the older items on the storage supply. Remember to replace everything that you have used up and those that are spoiled. Make it a part of your regular routine to keep the food fresh.

Remember that everything that goes in first must be the first to go out, starting from the ready-to-eat foods. Canned foods, which have rust on the lid, are already spoiled so be aware of these signs such as molds, discoloration, and smell.

Photo by International Institute of Tropical Agriculture via Flickr

Photo by International Institute of Tropical Agriculture via Flickr

6. Keep It Listed

Start a food plan with a checklist of food you need. Not only will this help your shopping faster, this will also help you keep track of the items that have been used up and needs to be replaced, from the canned goods up to the frozen food. Without a list or inventory, your food stock may go down to a single can of beans or to a jam-packed storage room.

 

Photo by U.S. Department of Agriculture via Flickr

Photo by U.S. Department of Agriculture via Flickr

7. Consider The Humidity

Consider the humidity in the room. Have the foods properly stored in their original packages. This packaging is designed for the food to be in great condition given a room temperature or even too much humidity. Humidity also increases the probability of molds to appear on your stored food.

 

8. Avoid Sunlight

To keep the longevity of food, avoid storing them in direct sunlight. Exposing food in direct sunlight promotes oxidation, decreases the nutritional value, and most importantly, spoils it easily. To keep this from happening, cover the windows and other areas which may allow sunlight to go through. Watch out for foods rich in vitamins A, D, E, and K because they are quick to degrade under sunlight.

 

Photo by Colin McEwan via Flickr

Photo by Colin McEwan via Flickr

9. Clean, Clean, Clean

Storing food effectively is based mostly on the proper handling of food when you store them. Wash your hands, clean the room, clean the containers, and don’t let any insects get inside the storage room. Keep the fresh produce, raw foods, canned goods, and ready-to-eat foods separated from each other.

Nowadays, having food storage is not a choice but an essential part of every household’s survival plan. In a press release, Chief Executive Officer of Legacy Food Storage Phil Cox explains that there has been a 300 percent increase in the demand for food, water, fuel, and food storage supplies due to the Ebola outbreak in the United States. This list will help you start your food storage right.

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6 New Year’s Prepper To Do List Itemshttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/05/6-new-years-prepper-to-do-list-items/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/05/6-new-years-prepper-to-do-list-items/#comments Tue, 06 Jan 2015 02:14:03 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=12583 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

For many of us it is back to work or school today. No more days of sleeping in and staying up too late for me. It’s funny how easily I can ignore the dawn when I don’t really have to get out of bed but the alarm clock and a return to normality this morning […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

For many of us it is back to work or school today. No more days of sleeping in and staying up too late for me. It’s funny how easily I can ignore the dawn when I don’t really have to get out of bed but the alarm clock and a return to normality this morning put an end to all of that. The dog even looked at me strange as she too had become accustomed to sleeping in way past our normal rising time, when I opened her kennel this morning. It will take a few days of getting back into the swing of things but everything will be back to normal soon.

Hopefully the blog will be back to normal as well. I have had the wonderful privilege of some excellent guest writers over the Christmas and New Year’s break who contributed some really amazing articles to the Prepper Journal. These guest articles were a blessing as I was on the road for 4 whole days during that time and like a lot of you, wanted to spend some quality time with family. I admit the posting schedule lapsed a few times but the guest articles were much appreciated and helped to cover for my inability to post as usual. Thank you!

Since we are getting back into the swing of things with other aspects of our lives I thought it might be good to take stock on our prepping supplies as well as set out a plan for this new year. I have found that I really need to analyze what I have and what I think is all squared away from time to time to make sure I am not in for any rude surprises when we can least afford them. It is with that frame of mind that I turned my attention to my own arc of preparedness to see where I am at according to my own goals but more importantly, to double-check the supplies I already have. It might make sense for you to try some of these ideas on this simple prepper to do list.

Rotate your supplies

This is one thing that a lot of people neglect to do but it can cost you a lot of money at best, or your life at worst. When I think of rotating my supplies I am primarily concerned with those that will go bad. For this article I will focus on food and water.

Rotate your food – For me anyway, buying a lot of food was the easy part. Not because I have a ton of money, but I would buy food, fill the pantry and step back with pride and smile at all of the jars of sauce and cans of veggies neatly arranged in my pantry only to forget about them pretty quickly after that. I wrote an article a while back about how knowing what you have is more important that buying new stuff and when it comes to food you don’t want to buy food from the grocery store and simply forget about it. Food can last a long time, but ideally you want to rotate out older food for your fresh cans to maintain the freshest food possible. Nobody wants to go through a winter storm, reach into the pantry and find spaghetti sauce that is 3 years past its expiration date. I know that the food would probably be OK, but I would rather have fresh foods for a lot of obvious reasons.

Take stock on what you have in your pantry or closet and push those old cans to the front and the newer items to the back. Depending on how bad off your supplies are, this might take you a little while, but you will be glad you did it. Same thing with my stored water. I have water stored in plastic 5 gallon containers that sit quietly sealed all year, but I still refresh them with good water each year just to do the same thing as with my food. It is better to have a year’s worth of fresh food and water than a year of 3 year old food and water.

 

A local seed exchange is a great place to swap seeds that will grow better in your area and are heirloom also

A local seed exchange is a great place to swap seeds that will grow better in your area and are heirloom also.

Plan for Spring Gardening and Canning

It’s almost time to play in the dirt again but it’s not too early to start planning your garden this year. My wife has already scoped out the next seed swap where we plan on getting a ton of local heirloom seeds for our garden this year. Even if you don’t have a seed swap nearby that shouldn’t stop you. You can purchase organic seeds online from places like Seed Savers Exchange. Better do it while you can because they are already planning on putting a stop to this practice.

EncyclopediaOfCountryLivingAlong with planning what we are going to grow, we need to figure on when to start seeds and for that Mother Earth News has a handy online Garden Planner that makes starting your garden easy. You can enter your zip code and the program helps you pick the right vegetables and tells you when to start them, when to harvest and other information if you are looking for some helpful tips.

If you prefer something printed, I also have and recommend a copy of the nearly famous Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery. Along with planting Carla’s fabulous resource covers a cornucopia of other items like butchering, building chicken coops, cooking on a wood stove and so much more. The book has over 900 pages of great information.

Weapons maintenance and firearms practice

In a post I wrote last week on the Best Prepper Gun List, one of our readers very correctly pointed out that it is better to be deadly accurate with a single firearm than to have several you don’t know how to use. When was the last time you went to the range to shoot your firearms? Did you clean and oil your weapon properly the last time you put it away? Do you even know how to take your weapon apart and have the proper materials to clean it? Do you have enough to last if the grid goes down?

I frequently mention that I consider firearms an important part of my survival plan. Their value in my eyes only increases as the effects of any potential disaster worsen so it makes sense to pay special attention to these tools myself, and others claim to be so important.

Bag Maintenance

By bag maintenance, I mean all of your various ‘bags’ that you have worried over and compiled over the years. When was the last time you inventoried your Bug Out Bag to make sure the food was fresh, that stove you packed was still in there and the First Aid supplies hadn’t disappeared because of the last camping trip? Your Get Home Bag should be checked too for fresh water and food and to ensure you still have the supplies in there that are most appropriate for your get home plan. Has your career changed forcing you to reevaluate your get home plan because it is significantly further or in a different direction now than it was?

Sharpen Knives

Knife maintenance is fairly straight forward. A clean, sharp and oiled blade is pretty simple but knives get neglected sometimes too. I recently bought a Work Sharp Tool and Knife Sharpener that is just about the coolest thing I have seen in a long time. I had been looking at one of these for a couple of reasons. The first is the expert at our local gun show always uses one of these to put a wicked sharp edge on the knives he sells. The second reason is that no matter how hard I try, I seem to always have mixed results with a sharpening stone and chalk my poor results up to technique. I know that if I spent enough time I could sharpen my knives better, but that never seems to happen. I can get a nice edge on them, but nothing that I could shave with like in the Western movies of my childhood.  Lastly, my wife asked me if I knew anyone who could sharpen her scissors. As soon as she asked me that a little light went on in my head and I knew I now had enough excuses to make this purchase. I did and couldn’t be happier. Now I have a house full of insanely sharp knives and I might write a review on the Work Sharp later.

The Work Sharp will put a wicked edge on your knives in no time.

The Work Sharp will put a wicked edge on your knives in no time.

No matter if you have a stone or something simple (and much cheaper) but effective like the Lansky BladeMedic or a band sharpener, spend some time with your knives to make sure they are in the best shape they can be. You will appreciate this if you ever need to call on one of them to save your life.

Review Your Plan

Life has a way of changing and with it our plans for survival in a SHTF situation might need tweaking from time to time. My prepper plan when I first started prepping back in 2007 is not the same as the plan I have now. I have learned a lot of things and gained a different perspective on life and my part in it so my plans have evolved. Take some time this week to figure out where you stand with your own personal prepping plan and see where you might need to adjust or tweak to fit your new parameters of life. You may find that something you thought was an absolute is not necessarily even a factor anymore. The opposite may be true and plans you didn’t think were necessary last year might need to morph with changes in your local areal or even national news.

Even if your family survival plans stay exactly the same, it is a good idea to review them and recommit them to the memory of yourself and family. You might find an area of your preps that needs special attention again.

What is on your prepper to do list this month?

The post 6 New Year’s Prepper To Do List Items appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

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